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BILLINGS – Mile City’s Frank Wiley Field airport will get $2.5 million to upgrade the airport’s runway and modernize its visual guidance system.

The grant was awarded under the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program.

Frank Wiley Field is about two miles outside Miles City and has two runways, both about 5,600 feet long according to the airport’s 2013 master plan, which also states that that about 11,000 takeoffs and landings occur at the airport each year and that 20 aircraft are based there.

The airport is classified as a local general aviation facility by the Federal Aviation Administration, which means that it “supplement(s) communities by providing access to primarily intrastate and some interstate markets” and “accommodate(s) small businesses, flight training, emergency service, charter passenger service, cargo operations and personal flying activities,” as defined by the FAA.

Miles City originally purchased land for the airport in 1948. Its namesake, Frank Wiley, was born in 1900 and went on the direct Montana’s State Aeronautics Commission for 16 years.

“Safe and reliable air service is critical to the long-term economic needs of Montana’s rural communities, including Miles City,” said U.S. Sen. Steve Daines in a release announcing the grant. “This grant will provide the Miles City airport with the tools needed to better serve the transportation needs of area residents.”

The Airport Improvement Program was created to promote the development and preservation of the nation’s airport system. Funds are drawn from the Airport and Airway Trust fund, which is supported by user fees, fuel taxes and other similar revenue sources.

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