The need for a land-based airport
Angoon is located on Admiralty Island, and is accessible only by seaplane or ferry. It is the largest southeast Alaska community without an airport. Night landing is prohibited, and there are navigational hazards near the seaplane float area. At certain times of the year, prevailing northeasterly winds make landing difficult. Additionally, in the winter, Favorite Bay periodically ices up, precluding floatplane operations. The Alaska Marine Highway System generally provides ferry service to Angoon twice a week during late fall, winter, and early spring, and 2-3 times/week in the summer. The nearest commercial center (Sitka) is over five hours away by ferry.
Due to the combination of isolation and limited transportation options, Angoon has difficulty in accessing emergency health care, markets for its products, and necessary social, recreational, and educational opportunities. The DOT&PF conducted several studies and determined that an airport that could accommodate Part 135 air carriers (scheduled commuter and unscheduled, on-demand charter carriers) would provide safe and reliable access to health care, goods, and services available in nearby developed areas.
New airport features
The new airport will be a B-II facility, approximately the same size as the Kake Airport. It will be made up of 3,300-foot-long runway, a small apron (gravel pad), and a paved access road from the existing BIA road. The runway is being designed to accommodate small passenger aircraft such as a smaller Caravan that could carry 7-9 passengers and medevac King Air 200/Beech1900 aircraft (Design Group II aircraft).
The airport will have lighting and a non-precision instrument approach so that airplanes can take off and land at nighttime. A 1,700-foot-long runway protection zone (RPZ) will be created at each end of the runway. An RPZ is an open area that is a buffer zone for approaching/departing aircraft. No development is allowed within the RPZ. A fence around the airport may or may not be included—that is still being determined.
If it is affected by the airport project, the trail access to Hood Bay will be re-routed. Eventually, the runway could be expanded to 4,000 feet, so this project will acquire needed ROW and clear trees to leave room for that future possibility.
Once construction is complete, DOT&PF will contract with a local group to maintain the airport. DOT&PF will pay for all maintenance costs.