§ 701 Authority to establish, acquire and operate.
(a) The Department may, on behalf of and in the name of this State, within the limitation of available appropriations, acquire by purchase, gift, devise, lease, condemnation proceedings, or otherwise, property real or personal, for the purpose of establishing and constructing airports, restricted landing areas, and other air navigation facilities, and acquire in like manner, own, control, establish, construct, enlarge, improve, maintain, equip, operate, regulate, and police such airports, restricted landing areas, and other air navigation facilities, either within or without this State. It may make, prior to any such acquisition, investigations, surveys, and plans; and may erect, install, construct, and maintain at such airports facilities for the servicing of aircraft and for the comfort and accommodation of air travelers, and may dispose of any such property, airport, restricted landing area, or any other air navigation facility, by sale, lease, or otherwise, in accordance with the laws of this State governing the disposition of other like property of the State.
(b) The Department shall not, however, acquire or take over any airport, restricted landing area or other air navigation facility owned or controlled by a political subdivision without the consent of such political subdivision.
(c) The Department may erect, equip, operate, and maintain on any airport buildings and equipment necessary and proper to establish, maintain, and conduct such airport and air navigation facilities connected therewith.
§ 702 Acquisition of easements and airport protection privileges.
Where necessary, in order to provide unobstructed air space for the landing and taking off of aircraft utilizing airports and restricted landing areas acquired or operated under this chapter, the Department may acquire, in the same manner as is provided for the acquisition of property for airport purposes, easements through or other interests in air space over land or water, interests in airport hazards outside the boundaries of the airports or restricted landing areas, and such other airport protection privileges as are necessary to insure safe approaches to the landing areas of the airports and restricted landing areas, and the safe and efficient operation thereof. It may also acquire, in the same manner, the right or easement, for a term of years or perpetually, to place or maintain suitable marks for the daytime marking and suitable lights for the nighttime marking of airport hazards, including the right of ingress and egress to or from such airport hazards for the purpose of maintaining and repairing such lights and marks. This authority shall not be so construed as to limit the right, power, or authority of the State or any political subdivision to zone property adjacent to any airport or restricted landing area pursuant to any law of this State.
§ 703 Joint operations.
The Department may engage in all the activities specified in §§ 701 and 702 of this title jointly with the United States, other states, and with political subdivisions or other agencies of this State.
§ 704 Condemnation.
(a) The Department may exercise the right of eminent domain, in the name of the State, for the acquisition of real property for public purposes, for the purpose of acquiring any property which it is authorized by this title to acquire by condemnation. In such cases, whenever the Department cannot agree with the owner of any land, building, franchise, easement, or other property necessary to be taken, it may institute condemnation proceedings in accordance with Chapter 61 of Title 10.
(b) The right of eminent domain herein granted extends to and includes the right to acquire the fee simple title to land, or an easement, or a right-of-way in, to, over or above such land or property as the Department deems necessary in making adequate and practical provisions for the removal of obstructions of any nature whatsoever in approaches to an airport or landing field.
(c) In the determination of the compensation to be paid in any condemnation proceeding authorized by this section, there shall be paid either the value of the property and facilities taken or the cost of any changes in or relocation of the property and facilities, whichever is higher.
(d) The fact that the property so needed has been acquired by the owner under power of eminent domain shall not prevent its acquisition by the Department by the exercise of the right of eminent domain herein conferred.
(e) For the purpose of making surveys and examinations relative to any condemnation proceeding, it is lawful to enter upon any land, doing no unnecessary damage.
§ 705 Leases and sales.
(a) The Department may lease for a term not exceeding 10 years, such airports, or other air navigation facilities or real property acquired or set apart for airport purposes, to private parties, any municipal or state government or the national government, or any department of either thereof, for operation or use consistent with the purposes of this chapter.
(b) The Department may lease or assign for a term not exceeding 10 years to private parties, any municipal or state government or the national government, or any department of either for operation or use consistent with the purposes of this chapter, space, area, improvements or equipment on such airports.
(c) The Department may sell any part of such airports, other air navigation facilities or real property to any municipal or state government, or to the United States or any department or instrumentality thereof, for aeronautical purposes or purposes incidental thereto.
(d) The Department may confer the privilege of concessions of supplying upon the airports, goods, commodities, things, services and facilities.
(e) No lease, sale, assignment or privilege conferred under this section shall deprive the public of its rightful, equal and uniform use thereof.
§ 706 Charges and rentals; lien.
The Department may determine the charges or rental for the use of any properties and the charges for any service or accommodations under its control and the terms and conditions under which these properties may be used. No charge or rental under this section shall deprive the public of its rightful, equal, and uniform use of such property. Charges shall be reasonable and uniform for the same class of service and established with due regard to the property and improvements used and the expenses of operation to the State. The State shall have and the Department may enforce liens, as provided by law for liens and the enforcement thereof, for repairs to or improvement or storage or care of any personal property, to enforce the payment of any such charges.
§ 707 Department's functions and powers governmental.
The acquisition of any lands for the purpose of establishing airports or other air navigation facilities; the acquisition of any airport protection privileges; the acquisition, establishment, construction, enlargement, improvement, maintenance, equipment and operation of airports and other air navigation facilities, whether by the State separately or jointly with any political subdivision or subdivisions; the assistance of this State in any such acquisition, establishment, construction, enlargement, improvement, maintenance, equipment and operation; and the exercise of any other powers herein granted to the Department are public and governmental functions, exercised for a public purpose, and matters of public necessity, and such lands and other property and privileges acquired and used by the State in the manner and for the purposes enumerated in this chapter shall and are to be acquired and used for public and governmental purposes and as a matter of public necessity.
§ 708 Tort liability.
No action or suit sounding in tort shall be brought or maintained against the State or any political subdivision, or the officers, agents, servants or employees of the State or any political subdivision, on account of any act done in or about the construction, maintenance, enlargement, operation, superintendence or management of any airport or other air navigation facility.
Code 1935, c. 167; 45 Del. Laws, c. 301, § 12(1); 2 Del. C. 1953, § 708.;