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4. Your Airport in Context general Key Po i nt The National Airspace System (NAS) is a complex collection of air navigation and air traffic control facilities, systems, equipment, and airports located throughout the United States. The U.S. Congress recognized the importance of ensuring that all communities and citizens have access to air transportation by establishing the NAS and provides funding for its ongoing development, operation, and maintenance. D i s cu s s i on The Airport The NAS includes approximately 500 commercial service airports and 2,800 public-use general aviation airports located across the nation as designated by the FAA in the NPIAS. Airports included in the NPIAS are eligible for federal financial assistance through the FAA-administered Airport Improvement Program (AIP). AIP grants provide much of the funding for airport capital improvement projects that enhance capacity, safety, and security, preserve existing infrastructure, and mitigate environmental impacts. Airport State Master Plan System Plan NPIAS FINANCIAL Airports are classified in the NPIAS as follows: Commercial service -- scheduled airline service with more than 2,500 passengers annually; Primary airports -- commercial service airports with more than 10,000 passengers annually. Primary airports also are classified as large, medium, small, and non-hub based on their percentage of the nation's passengers; General aviation -- minimal or no scheduled airline service, boarding less than 2,500 passengers annually; and Reliever -- general aviation airports specially designated to reduce congestion at nearby busy primary airports. An airport's classification plays an important part in how FAA allocates funding for airport development under its grant program (see Issue Paper#14 Financial: Funding Capital Improvements). rules 10

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FAA identifies the following basic principles of the NPIAS. Many of these are based on law and are reflected in FAA's programs, regulations, and policies. The NPIAS holds that airports should be: GENERAL Safe and efficient, located at optimum sites, and developed and maintained to appropriate standards; Affordable to both users and government, relying primarily on user fees, and placing minimal burden on the general revenues of federal, state, and local governments; Flexible and expandable, able to meet increased demand and to accommodate new aircraft types; Permanent, with assurance that they will remain open for aeronautical use over the long-term; Compatible with surrounding communities, maintaining a balance between the needs of aviation and the requirements of residents in neighboring areas. An old phrase among airport managers is that "If you have seen one airport, you have seen ONE airport!" This is intended to express the uniqueness of all airports, a fact that adds to the challenge of managing and leading public aviation facilities. Airports can vary significantly relative to airport activity, infrastructure needs, and airspace requirements. Some states develop a state airport system plan that may group airports based on their roles, geographical areas of influence, and THE AIRPORT infrastructure needs. The state system plan will help guide state aviation officials in making resource and funding decisions. App l i c at i o n Learn how well your airport meets the basic goals of the NPIAS. Learn about your airport's current and planned classification and how that relates to FAA grant funding. Find out if your state has a system plan and learn about your airport's role within that plan. Become familiar with how your airport compares with other nearby airports. FINANCIAL RULES 11