By: Matthew Remynse, A.A.E., President, Airport Association of North Dakota
With 2020 in the rearview mirror, I’m excited for what a new year will bring to the Airport Association of North Dakota (AAND) and its members. In 2021, AAND will again be lobbying for airports at the Legislative Session, will be working with FLY-ND staff to host a speaker for the virtual FLY-ND Conference, and will see new leadership after the business meeting in March.
With the Legislature being in session for a short while, there is not yet much progress to report. Through the assistance of Odney, the Association’s Transportation Network Company bill was able to get a sponsor with several co-sponsors. The bill was heard by the Senate Transportation Committee in January. The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission’s bill will be heard by the Senate Appropriate Committee early on and we’ll provide testimony to support the Aeronautics Commission. In an effort to help political subdivisions with funding, several legislators have developed a bonding bill using the earnings off the Legacy Fund. This bill includes airport grant funding. For certain, it will be a bill that Odney and the AAND will be watching very closely and providing testimony on, when the time is right. Additionally, the AAND is watching bills related to an airline tax issue and radio reimbursement for political subdivisions. It is definitely a busy session once again.
In March, the AAND and its members will be participating in the virtual FLY-ND Conference. I’m pleased to see that the site committee has elected to provide a virtual format for the conference, which will provide a safe opportunity for individuals to attend the sessions. Also, I’m optimistic that the virtual format will provide individuals who haven’t been to the aviation conference in some time an opportunity to see the quality of the conference and that they will be inclined to participate again at future conferences. Looking at the conference agenda, the Association will have a legislative update, an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport District Update, the annual business meeting, an update for the NDAC staff, amongst other sessions.
Annually, the AAND members elect the officers of the Board. After six years, I will be stepping down as the President of the Association and passing the torch onto Ryan Riesinger, Director of the Grand Forks Airport. Over the last year, Ryan and I have been working together to ensure a seamless transition. I’m excited to see him continue to build the organization. Looking back, I’m proud of what the Association has accomplished in both the aviation community and legislatively over the last six years. Truly, it was an honor and privilege to guide the organization, having the trust of its members, and I appreciate the opportunity.
Here is to a fantastic 2021 and remember, check the NOTAMs!