$56.3 million. That’s the amount granted to the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) by the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding.

The amount is the largest share from the 2021 federal budget given to any airport by the AIP.

The grant, which is also the largest in Indianapolis International Airport’s (IND) history, will be used for airfield improvements.

“This is the crown jewel among the collection of grants the IAA is set to receive,” said IAA Executive Director Mario Rodriguez in a press release. “It’s the largest single grant in our airport’s history, and the largest allotment among the nation’s airports in the FAA’s latest AIP funding round.”

The grant will help fund the initial construction phase to strengthen and enhance capacity for Runway 5R-23L and the initial construction and electrical phase of Taxiway D. The rise in online shopping due to the pandemic has prompted the IAA to look at this runway, which is used by both commercial airlines and FedEx flights.

“It sounds more technical than sexy, but this project will invest significantly in improving the airfield as a public asset and is anticipated to create more than 2,700 construction jobs,” said Rodriguez.

In addition, IND will also receive nearly $1 million for Zero Emissions Vehicle grants. The IAA will use the funding to purchase two 25-foot electric shuttle buses and charging stations to enhance its existing fleet to 12 electric shuttle buses.

The airport is also receiving another separate federal grant of $11 million to reinforce its capacity to allow planes to remain parked on the airfield overnight, which the IAA says helps in its goal of adding more non-stop flights and commercial carriers.

In 2021 alone, IND added 21 new non-stop flights, and two new carriers, Sun Country and Contour.

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