Fort Wayne International Airport is the first airport in Indiana to receive a federal grant dedicated to improving air quality and reducing aircraft emissions. The Federal Aviation Administration’s Voluntary Airport Low Emission grant allows airports to invest in low-emission vehicles, major infrastructure enhancements, and other air quality improvements.
“Being awarded the VALE grant is excellent news for the airport and the community as a whole,” said Craig Williams, Director of Operations and Facilities. “It is a win-win for everyone when we can take on projects that will reduce the impact of aviation on the environment. We look forward to further enhancements that will make the airport even more environmentally friendly.”
Officials at FWA plan to use the VALE grant to improve the electrical capacity of the terminal, enabling the installation of pre-conditioned air units on passenger loading bridges. The new units will remove the need to use an aircraft’s auxiliary power unit or other ground support equipment and allow aircraft to connect to the terminal building’s cleaner, centralized heating and cooling system. In completing the $1 million electrification project, aircraft emissions will be significantly reduced and FWA will lead the state in progressive and innovative airport infrastructure.
The VALE program was created in 2004 and helps airports to comply with state regulations under the Clean Air Act. The program is available to commercial service airports located in areas that fail to meet or maintain ambient air quality standards as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency. VALE projects also receive emission reduction credits from the state government, which FWA can use to meet the future environmental needs of the Clean Air Act.
Last year, the FAA issued VALE grants for 12 projects at 11 airports. Since 2005, the agency has funded more than $138 million in clean airport technology. According to the FAA, airports participating in the VALE program are reducing ozone emissions by approximately 320 tons per year, the equivalent of removing 17,600 vehicles off the road annually.