U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, announced that following her bipartisan push, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will maintain the international airport designation for the new Williston Basin International Airport.
After CBP originally denied the City of Williston’s request to transfer the international airport designation from Sloulin Field to Williston Basin, Heitkamp sent a letter with the North Dakota delegation last month to CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan to outline the community’s concerns about losing the designation and how it would negatively impact the city and state’s economic development. In the letter, the members of the delegation described how the new airport—under an international airport designation—would help make sure operations continue in a safe and efficient manner.
Today, Commissioner McAleenan assured Heitkamp that CBP understands the importance of international travel to Williston, and will designate Williston Basin as an international airport, once it successfully completes construction and begins operations.
“As air travel has dramatically increased in our state, particularly in western North Dakota, it’s more important than ever to make sure our growing communities are connected with the transportation networks and facilities they need to continue growing our economy,” said Heitkamp. “This new airport will meet the rapidly growing transportation needs of the greater Williston community, and we were able to secure the international airport designation to adequately serve those calling Williston home and those visiting the area for business. Thanks to Commissioner McAleenan for hearing my concerns, responding in a timely manner, and working to fix this problem. I look forward to collaborating with him further as we expand economic and travel opportunities in the region— and this announcement is an important to step in cementing Williston as a long-term economic engine for our state.”
Earlier this month, Heitkamp announced $13.1 million in federal funding that will continue to support the construction and eventual completion of the Williston Basin International Airport.