Mayor Weinberger Announces He Will Seek Approval of Lease Extension for Vermont Air National Guard at the Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport

Burlington, Vt. -- Today, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger announced he will seek City Council Approval for a 25-year lease extension with the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG) at the Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport (Leahy BTV) at the City Council’s regular meeting on October 23. In a separate MOU negotiated by the Mayor, that will be executed simultaneously with the lease, VTANG and the City will also jointly commit to several initiatives with the goal of reducing and mitigating the effect of aircraft noise and emissions from aircraft and base operations, which is consistent with the Council’s related July resolution. 

VTANG’s current lease provides the Guard operating rights until June 30, 2048. However, Department of Defense (DOD) regulations dictate military installations must have more than 25 years remaining on their lease to allocate Military Construction (MILCON) funding.  Thus, without an extension, VTANG will be unable to move forward with $51 million in planned and federally funded capital investments at the airport in the next five years.  These capital investments include $7.7 million in renewable energy and clean heating projects and $32 million for the construction of new Net Zero buildings.  

Past capital expenditures have averaged $19 million annually. Failure to continually invest in the base would, over time, erode VTANG’s ability to provide essential services including aircraft rescue and fire services for the airport, threaten local employment, significantly restrict their local expenditures, and interrupt VTANG’s efforts to meet Burlington’s and the Air Force’s climate goals. 

“Burlington has been the proud steward of the Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport, one of the great economic engines of Vermont, for over 100 years,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “Since 1946, the Vermont Air National Guard has been a committed, indispensable partner to the airport and their continued legacy of service and selflessness to the people of Vermont is vital to our common well-being and security. This lease extension is the next, important step in ensuring the mutual success of Burlington, our airport, VTANG, and the region.” 

“The Vermont Air National Guard is essential for our state, and this lease extension is critical to ensure continued investment and support for those who serve all of us,” said Governor Scott. “Whether it’s responding to natural disasters here at home, or supporting our Allies abroad, the Air Guard continues to inspire Vermonters through their dedication to service and community. I look forward to continued work with them, and appreciate the Mayor for bringing this extension to the Council for approval.” 

“The Vermont Air National Guard has been an integral part of our community for more than seven decades, serving as a critical element of national defense, bolstering our economy, and providing vital expertise and equipment to support state missions and emergencies,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, Vermont adjutant general. “VTANG members have consistently demonstrated their commitment to supporting our friends and neighbors during times of crisis, whether it is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, cyber-attacks, Tropical Storm Irene, or the flooding from this past summer. This lease renewal is essential to our ability to meet missions critical to the health and safety of Vermonters and continue to serve our state and nation.” 

Summary of MOU  

In the agreement, which is complimentary to the lease extension, the City commits to work with Vermont’s Federal legislative delegation to advance the use of simulated and augmented reality training platforms or other initiatives in support of common goals shared with VTANG in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing and mitigating the effect of aircraft noise.  

In turn, VTANG commits to take all reasonable efforts to: 

  • Make climate-informed decisions, optimize energy use, and pursue alternative energy sources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

  • Work through all available channels to explore and advance simulator training initiatives and technological solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and aircraft noise. 

  • Work with the City in support of BTV’s noise compatibility program through resources available from Federal Aviation Administration and the Community Noise Mitigation Program of the Department of Defense, Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation. 

  • Investigate alternative aircraft takeoff and recovery procedures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and aircraft noise.  

  • Pursue funding for objective studies that determine the impact of alternate takeoff and recovery procedures and to assess whether additional options are available. 

  • Adopt alternative energy sources by purchasing compatible and sustainable aviation fuel. 

  • Communicate its efforts towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing and mitigating the effect of aircraft noise to the City’s Airport Director and Mayor. 

“The Vermont National Guard, and VTANG specifically, is critical to the state as the first responders in our most difficult moments like pandemics and floods, and they are fundamental to ensuring the safety and operations of this commercial airport. It’s also a vital workforce pipeline for us,” said Kyle Clark, Founder and CEO of BETA Technologies. “More than ten percent of our team, from dedicated technicians to certified flight instructors to test pilots and engineers, have served or are actively serving in the VTANG or other branches of the military. These folks are deeply committed and engaged in the local community - supporting workforce programs, connecting with local organizations and so much more. VTANG are our neighbors across the ramp and in this state we call home, and we are grateful to and supportive of them for all they do.”  

“The Lake Champlain Chamber is committed to creating economic opportunities for all because a good job—in the private, public, or non-profit sector—is the best path to economic well-being and resiliency. VTANG is an essential part of our community, emergency response, and a significant contributor to our economy,” said Cathy Davis, President of the Lake Champlain Chamber. “VTANG members are often our children's coaches, our volunteers, and neighbors. Beyond the many jobs VTANG directly creates, they support the employment of many, many more Vermonters. The investments VTANG makes in the airport provide critical infrastructure and, as a result, our broader community benefits, whether they use it for traveling for work, family, or pleasure or to lead the world in innovation. We stand by the Mayor and others in supporting the extension and call on the City Council to join us when this decision is before them later this month.” 

Background on the Vermont Air National Guard Base at Leahy BTV 

VTANG is the air component Vermont National Guard, it leases 281.20 acres of from the City at Leahy BTV on which it operates the 158th Fighter Wing. The 158th Fighter Wing has been a federally recognized unit of the United States Air Force since 1946, and in 2020 it was the first Air National Guard unit in the United States to base the F-35A Lightning II aircraft.  

In addition to providing mutual aid emergency response to neighboring communities, VTANG provides Aircraft Rescue and Fire Service to Leahy BTV, a direct benefit of approximately $3 million in annual operating costs and over $20 million in capital expenses for equipment, vehicles, and a firehouse for the airport. VTANG is a vital regional economic driver, employing 1188 people and distributing $45.7 million in wages and $16.5 million in benefits to Vermonters every year. In addition to fulfilling their mission to provide the nation and state a Ready Force skilled in the execution of a broad spectrum of global and domestic operations, VTANG is also an active partner in the State Partnership Program, with partners in Macedonia, Senegal, and now Austria. 



Lease extension 


Press Release Date: 
City Department: 
Mayor's Office