The Department of Administration (DOA) is responsible for many of the centralized functions of the City of Hoonah. DOA works to make Hoonah one of Southeast Alaska most attractive cities in which to live, work and do business by:
Enhancing the ability of city agencies to provide high quality, valued services at a cost citizens can afford;
Developing and recommending policies that protect the city's fiscal foundation; and
Influencing state and federal policies that affect the city's ability to thrive.
Department of Transportation and
OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER
3132 Channel Drive
P.O. Box 112500
Juneau, Alaska 99811-2500
March 24, 2020
Dear Sir / Maam,
As rural communities seek to limit the impacts of COVID19, the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) is receiving numerous requests for local airport closures. DOT&PF has confirmed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that airport closure is not a valid option at this time for several reasons:
Airports are public facilities that provide critical life, health, and safety access to rural communities.
Alaska’s airports have received significant federal funding to ensure they remain open and operational to all aircraft users and the public.Federal grant assurances associated with the funding prohibits airport closure without FAA approval.
Public airports must remain open and available to all types of users (commercial, private, passenger, cargo, etc.)
Questions have arisen surrounding 17 AAC 45.700 – Airport Abandonment or Closure. This regulation is intended to address emergency operational issues (runway obstructions, unsafe surface conditions, etc) that could result in an aircraft mishap and requires FAA approval. In such cases, the FAA gives the airport sponsor (DOT&PF) the authority to immediately close the airport to prevent an operational mishap.
In response to the COVID19 situation, the FAA also issued the following:
“In general, the FAA does not permit temporary closure or restriction of federally obligated airports for nonaeronautical purposes. An airport sponsor must obtain FAA approval to allow airport closure for a non-aeronautical purpose. (Grant Assurance 19 and 49 U.S.C. § 47107(a)(8)). Grant Assurance 19 further requires that airport sponsors will not cause or permit any activity or action on the airport that would interfere with its use for airport purposes. This guidance includes all airport structures and operational areas.”
Both the Governor and DOT&PF have issued travel guidance intended to limit the spread of COVID19 while still allowing essential activities to occur. The Department will continue to monitor emerging conditions and expert guidance to ensure Alaskans are served throughout this challenge.