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CHA PT E R 1 Introduction The administration and governance of an airport can prove quite challenging to a newly appointed policy maker or an airport manager without previous airport experience. While many serving in these roles possess some aviation experience or business background, few assume these positions with a broad understanding of the myriad of issues that affect the operation, maintenance, and development of aviation facilities. In order to be effective and engaged, it is vital for an airport policy maker to understand the scope and magnitude of federal, state, and local issues that affect and influence the delivery of aviation services in their communities. This document is designed to offer policy makers and administrators with a concise, yet thorough, overview of these broad issues in order to provide context and orientation to their roles and responsibilities. Moreover, it serves as a means to underscore the fact that effective policy makers generally embrace the value of their airport and willingly serve as an advocate for its mission and success. This advocacy occurs in concert with the need for policy makers to support airport management; to understand, expect, and acknowledge the need for sound fundamental business practices in the delivery of airport services; and to garner an appreciation and respect for the many rules and regulations that govern airport activities. A typical familiarization and training program for a new policy maker generally includes an orientation briefing about the airport, a primer report of airport issues, and a tour of airport facilities and activities. This document provides an overall orientation program as well as primer report. In addition, airport industry groups, such as the American Association of Airport Executives, Airports Council International, and state aviation organizations, help orient new policy makers through conferences and special programs. How this Document is Organized This document consists of four elements: A primer addressing 20 issues germane to airport management organized into four broad subject areas: General -- things policy makers should know about their roles, their duties, and basic information about airports; The Airport -- issues related to one airport, including what is on the airport, who uses it, how it is operated, how it is planned for future growth, and how its neighbors are protected; Financial -- airport budgets, capital improvement financing, and other financial aspects of the airport business; and Rules -- the many rules and regulations that govern airport activities. Reference material to enable the reader to obtain additional information on aviation and airport issues (Appendix A). Acronyms often used in the airport industry (Appendix B). proposed outline for a briefing that an airport administrator might use to provide orientation material to new A policy makers and/or other key stakeholders (Appendix C). 1

OCR for page 1
This document is structured to be user-friendly with each issue discussed in two to four pages under headings entitled: Key Point, Discussion, and Application. The Key Point section offers a quick statement of the issue being reviewed while the Discussion element offers a broad overview of the issue. The purpose of the Application section is to provide suggestions for further learning as well as tips on how to apply what one has learned. There are several issues where certain concepts overlap other issue papers. In these instances the reader will find cross-references to other issue papers. The tabs along the sides of each issue paper help the reader locate other papers within the document. For purposes of the primer, the term "part-time policy maker" refers to those persons not directly involved in the full- time management of airports, and includes airport board/commission/authority members, advisory groups, city councils, county boards, economic development boards, elected officials, and other key participants in airport policy discussions. The term "airport manager" refers to the manager, director, or the staff that provides day-to-day oversight and direction of the airport. The terms "airport owner", "airport sponsor", and "airport operator" are used interchangeably in this document. When airport owners receive state or federal grants for airport development, they are typically referred to as an airport "sponsor." "Airport operator" refers to the airport owner's role in the many aspects of airfield operations. 2