US Senator Heidi Heitkamp has announced funding of $17m for the development of five airports across North Dakota, US.

The funding will be made available through grants and will support improvements in Minot International Airport, Grand Forks International Airport, Devils Lake Regional Airport and Jamestown Regional Airport.

It will also help with the construction of a new airport in Bowman.

"It is important that we continue to make critical investments in our infrastructure, so increased demand can be met and pilots and air passengers remain safe."

In April, Heitkamp brought FAA administrator Michael Huerta to North Dakota, in order to get a firsthand look at the region’s unmanned aerial potential, as well as the aviation challenges faced by the local airports.

"Across the state and particularly in energy-impacted regions, it is important that we continue to make critical investments in our infrastructure, so increased demand can be met and pilots and air passengers remain safe," Heitkamp said.

"Air transportation has become a major economic success story for North Dakota and I’m pushing for it to remain that way."

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Of the total amount, $8.96m will be used to build a new taxiway at Minot International Airport, which will eliminate the need to back-taxi on the runway.

Grand Forks International Airport will receive $4.14m for reconstruction of a taxiway that meets FAA design standards.

Bowman County Airport Authority will get $2.15m for building a new airport, which would address the increased air travel demands.

The funds will also be used to provide essential medical access, meet FAA design standards, install utilities and airport perimeter fencing, as well as construct a storage building for snow removal equipment.

Devils Lake Regional Airport and Jamestown Regional Airport will receive $1.21m and $806,937 respectively, to acquire new aircraft rescue and fire fighting vehicles.

The infrastructure developments are expected to help North Dakota’s airports to keep up with the growing economy, population and demand for air travel.