Brainerd regional airport to receive millions in federal relief funds

Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport
Brainerd Dispatch file photo

The Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport will receive nearly $18 million in federal relief funds to offset revenue losses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The federal government allocated $10 billion to airports in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act signed into law in late March. Congressman Pete Stauber, R-Duluth, announced Tuesday, April 14, more than $27 million of those funds will go to airports in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District.

“The coronavirus crisis and the resulting travel restrictions have taken a massive toll on local airports and aviation jobs in northeast Minnesota,” Stauber stated in a news release. “As a Member of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation, I understand the importance of our airports and am pleased to announce funding to help ensure these airports are ready to serve Minnesotans once this crisis is over.”

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Brainerd’s share is $17,955,696, which Airport Director Steve Wright said he is very grateful to receive. The funds can be used for both operational and capital needs. At the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport, Wright said that will mean making sure airport tenants continue to operate and air service remains available for essential travelers.


“Obviously they’re going to be funds that we can invest into our community and help spearhead some economic growth and bring back some activity,” Wright said, adding he plans to invest in some construction projects and new buildings at the airport.

“So hopefully it can be directed towards the entire Brainerd lakes region as far as economic money that can stimulate some of our vendors and contractors and whatnot,” he said. “So we’re very excited to see how this is going to play out in the Brainerd lakes region and help sustain our economy.”

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The Brainerd airport remains open with a smaller staff than normal, but continues to offer its twice daily flights. Traffic is down about 95% from usual levels, Wright said, but essential travelers have been able to get where they need to go.

“The medical community and the support networks — some of the companies that do work out of the Brainerd area — they have employees that do need to travel around the country quite a bit, and so they’re able to do that yet,” Wright said.

Other airports around the region receiving funds from the CARES Act include:

  • Aitkin Municipal Airport-Steve Kurtz Field — $20,000.

  • Little Falls/Morrison County Airport-Lindbergh Field — $30,000.

  • Pine River Regional Airport — $30,000.

  • Staples Municipal Airport — $30,000.

  • Wadena Municipal Airport — $20,000.

  • Walker Municipal Airport — $30,000.

A complete list of airports throughout the country receiving funds is available at .

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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