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9 changes in Minimum Standards may lead to different Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Minimum standards being applied to different tenants based upon Standards for Commercial Aeronautical Activities the time the applicable agreements were executed.42 (1998).48 IV. SUMMARY OF RESEARCH RESULTS Very few state aeronautics departments appear to publish guidance on airport Minimum Standards. One example of a state guidance document is the Wisconsin A. Literature Review Department of Transportation's Minimum Standards There are two primary sources of guidance on the for Commercial Aeronautical Activities.49 subject of airport Minimum Standards: the FAA and This Legal Research Digest is the only project under airport industry trade groups. FAA guidance on Mini- the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Airport Co- mum Standards is provided in the following documents: operative Research Program (ACRP) directly address- ing the subject of airport Minimum Standards. Mini- Sponsor or Grant Assurances.43 mum Standards are addressed briefly in ACRP Report Order 5190.6B, Airport Compliance Manual, Chap. 16, Guidebook for Managing Small Airports (2009).50 10 (Reasonable Commercial Minimum Standards) Another project currently underway--ACRP 1-08, 44 (2009). Guidebook on Best Management Practices for Leasing Advisory Circular 150/5190-7, Minimum Stan- and Developing Airport Property--may address the 45 dards for Commercial Aeronautical Activities (2006). subject. Advisory Circular 150/5190-6, Exclusive Rights at Federally Obligated Airports (2007).46 B. Minimum Standards Questionnaire A Minimum Standards Questionnaire was developed The following documents prepared by airport indus- to gather information on the commercial aeronautical try trade groups also contain guidance on airport activities occurring at airports; the role, purpose, and Minimum Standards: content of Minimum Standards; and the process for developing Minimum Standards. National Air Transportation Association, Airport The questionnaire was distributed to a random sam- Sponsors Guide to Minimum Standards & Airport ple of airports located throughout the United States 47 Rules and Regulations (2009). (survey population). The survey population consisted of American Association of Airport Executives and a statistically significant random sample of National National Air Transportation Association, Airport Spon- Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) public-use sor's Guide to Preparing Minimum Standards for Air- airports (both privately and publicly owned) having a port Aeronautical Service Providers and Airport Operat- paved runway of 3,000 ft or greater. The questionnaire ing Rules and Regulations (2002). was distributed to 491 airports, and 99 surveys were completed prior to the response deadline, which repre- 51 sents a response rate of approximately 20 percent. To further assist in developing the Compendium of 42 See Director's Determination, Rick Aviation, Inc. v. Pen- Comparative Minimum Standards in Section V and insula Airport Comm'n, FAA Docket No. 16-05-18, at 17 (May Appendix D, the questionnaire requested a copy of the 8, 2007), http://part16.airports.faa.gov/pdf/16-05-18b.pdf, respondent airport's Minimum Standards. Thirty-nine (The FAA does not enforce lease provisions through the com- airport-specific Minimum Standards were received and pliance program. When a sponsor amends its minimum stan- reviewed. dards, it may attempt to apply such standards to all users. If The survey results are considered statistically sig- such application of new minimum standards appears to be in nificant (with a 95 percent confidence level and a 5 per- conflict with lease agreements, such a dispute is a legal dispute over lease terms. This is outside of FAA jurisdiction. However, cent margin of error). The questionnaire and results are the FAA recognizes that sponsors may not always be able to en- provided in Appendix B. The following information pro- force new minimum standards against leaseholders of prior le- vides a brief summary of the survey results. gal contracts. In such circumstances, the FAA often recommends The respondent airports had the following attributes: that when the sponsor has the ability to re-open lease agree- ments, it should pursue amending the leases to be consistent with the new minimum standards.). 43 http://www.faa.gov/airports/aip/grant_assurances/ 48 http://www.aopa.org/asn/minimum_standards.pdf. media/airport_sponsor_assurances.pdf. 49 http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/travel/air/docs/ 44 http://www.faa.gov/airports/resources/publications minimum-standards.pdf. /orders/compliance_5190_6/. 50 http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/acrp 45 http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media /acrp_rpt_016.pdf. /advisory_circular/150-5190-7/150_5190_7.pdf. 51 The questionnaire was initially disseminated to the sur- 46 http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media vey population on December 22, 2009, and a final response /advisory_circular/150-5190-6/150_5190_6.pdf. deadline of February 12, 2010, was established. The question- 47 http://www.nata.aero/data/files/GIA/airport naire was made available via a dedicated Web site and the link _misc/minstdsguidefinal.pdf. was disseminated via email to the survey population.