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CHAPTER 4 Airport Evaluation Tool 4.1 Introduction As described in Chapter 2, new generation aircraft range from single-engine pistons to light jets. Within this group, VLJs are most likely to represent a new market niche for airport operators. The physical characteristics and requirements of VLJs may have different implications for different air- ports. Depending on the existing operations at an airport, VLJs may constitute a new class of users for an airport or they may readily fit within the existing traffic at an airport. Moreover, in addi- tion to traditional GA flying, VLJs and other new generation GA aircraft (including turboprops and pistons) may be flown for air taxi on-demand operations. To help an airport in evaluating its existing capability to accommodate these new aircraft, this chapter presents three evaluation tools. The first tool, a quick comparison of existing aircraft to new generation aircraft, will help an airport operator assess whether current activity may be an indi- cator of the airport's ability to accommodate VLJs and other new generation aircraft. To provide a more detailed evaluation, a second tool examining typical airport facilities is provided to identify the airport's ability to accommodate new generation aircraft. This tool will help assess in more detail an airport's readiness to accommodate new generation aircraft with its current airfield and services/amenities; it essentially assumes that new generation aircraft will be used in traditional GA flying for business, corporate, and personal purposes. The third tool will help identify an airport's readiness to accommodate commercial operations such as air taxi or on-demand operations with new generation aircraft. 4.2 Quick Comparison with Existing GA Fleet As part of the research, roundtable discussions and interviews were held with industry rep- resentatives and participants. During these meetings, the response from airport operators and others when considering new generation aircraft ranged from "Why should we care--our air- port already serves all GA from the Boeing Business Jet to Piper Cubs" to "Can and will these aircraft use my airport?" Such responses represent concerns from accommodating additional aircraft at an already busy airport to the potential for new business. Given that many of the new generation aircraft have operating capabilities similar to the existing fleet, the aircraft cur- rently accommodated at an airport can serve as a quick guide to the types of new generation aircraft that might be accommodated by the airport. This is shown in Table 4-1, which is a sim- ple baseline for assessing an airport's readiness to accommodate new generation aircraft; the rest of this guidebook contains tools that an airport operator can use to determine readiness in greater detail. 22