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12 Icons are defined in Figure 1 of Section 1.1. 2.1 Airport Classification and Why It Matters Key Insights All airports have value to the communities they serve. The role of the airport in the national, state or local aviation system impacts the financial support an airport is eligible to receive and the standards the facilities and operations must meet. The types of users at an airport influence its role. Key Definitions Airport economic impact: The contribution of an airport to the regional economy, quantified in terms of employment, payroll and output. Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 139: Airports that agree to meet certain opera- tional and safety standards as prescribed in 14 CFR Part 139, also referred to as FAR Part 139, to accommodate scheduled and unscheduled air carrier aircraft and are issued an operating certificate by the FAA. Types of Part 139 airports: â¢ Class I airport: An airport certificated to serve scheduled operations of large air carrier aircraft that can also serve unscheduled passenger operations of large air carrier aircraft and/or scheduled operations of small air carrier aircraft. â¢ Class II airport: An airport certificated to serve scheduled operations of small air carrier aircraft and the unscheduled passenger operations of large air carrier aircraft. A Class II airport cannot serve scheduled large air carrier aircraft. â¢ Class III airport: An airport certificated to serve scheduled operations of small air carrier aircraft. A Class III airport cannot serve scheduled or unscheduled large air carrier aircraft. â¢ Class IV airport: An airport certificated to serve unscheduled passenger operations of large air carrier aircraft. A Class IV airport cannot serve scheduled large or small air carrier aircraft. Federal grant assurance: A provision of a federal grant agreement to which the recipient of federal airport development assistance has agreed to comply. General aviation (GA): All civil aviation (excluding military) except those classified as air carrier or air taxi. The types of aircraft typically used in GA activities vary from multiengine C H A P T E R 2 Airport RolesâKey Classifications and Regulations in the Airport System
Airport RolesâKey Classifications and Regulations in the Airport System 13 jet aircraft to single-engine piston aircraft for purposes such as personal, business and instruc- tional flying. General aviation airport: Airport not classified as commercial service or military. National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS): Public-use airports considered necessary to provide a safe, efficient and integrated system of airports to meet the needs of the United States civil aviation, national defense and the U.S. Postal Service. Nonhub commercial service airport: Airport with more than 2,500 annual passenger boardings (enplanements) but less than 0.05 percent of the national passenger boardings. Nonprimary commercial service airports: Airports with scheduled passenger service and annual passenger boardings (enplanements) between 2,500 and 10,000. Primary airport: Publicly owned airport with scheduled air carrier service and more than 10,000 passenger boardings (enplanements) per year. Public-use airport: Airport available for public use; may be publicly or privately owned. Public airport: Any airport that is used or to be used for public purposes, in the control of a public agency, the land area of which is publicly owned. Reliever airports: General aviation airports in metropolitan areas that provide pilots with an alternative to using congested commercial service airports or provide general aviation access to the surrounding area. State Block Grant Program: An FAA program, in which 10 states participate, that provides Airport Improvement Program funds to the state to allow the state to program, prioritize, select and fund Airport Improvement Program projects at small airports. State system plan: A planning tool to identify the development needed to establish a viable system of airports within the state. Airport Functions All airports benefit the communities they serve by attracting business, supporting aviation- related businesses, providing access to the national and international airspace systems and serving individual needs. While commercial service airports have the most visible benefit to a community, all airports provide access to the national air transportation system and support a wide range of uses and businesses, as discussed in the FAAâs General Aviation Airports: A National Asset. Figure 4 summarizes many of the aeronautical functions at a GA airport that serve public interest. The industry outreach portion of this study also identified aeronautical functions at small airports, as shown in Figure 5. The âotherâ category included aircraft painting, civil air patrol, agricultural application businesses, rental car agencies, universities and university athletic departments. One way an airport quantifies its value to a community is through the use of economic impact analysis, as discussed in Section 6.5: Economic Impact. An economic impact analysis is commonly used to estimate a dollar value for the services provided by an airport. The results of such a study can be used to generate financial and community support for the airport. Federal Versus State/Local Control Airports are locally owned, but regulated by federal standards, state standards or both. Air carrier operating certificates are issued to FAR Part 139 airports by the FAA. In addition to
14 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports the FAA certificate, a state may issue an operating certificate based on an FAR Part 139 airportâs compliance with that program. All other airports available for public use typically receive operating licenses or certificates from their state aeronautics agencies, if the state issues licenses or certificates. Table 2 summarizes the control of aviation activity that occurs at the federal level and those at the state or local level. The FAA annually inspects and certificates only those airports operating under FAR Part 139. All other public-use airports in the NPIAS must be inspected every 3 years. This inspection is accomplished via the Airport Master Record, or 5010 program. The inspection of non- FAR Part 139 airports is delegated to the states. The stateâs aeronautics staff may conduct the inspections, or they may be subcontracted to a private contractor. In addition, states may also inspect other non-NPIAS public-use airports. For non-Part 139 airports, some states establish their own airport licensing standards and inspection processes. However, state-licensed airports still need to meet federal design standards, if requesting federal grants under the AIP. In addition to the FAAâs regulatory roles in civil aviation and U.S. commercial space transporta- tion, its responsibilities include promotion of civil aviation and commercial space transportation, and the safety of civil aviation and airspace. The FAAâs major nonregulatory roles are as follows: â¢ Encouraging and developing civil aeronautics, including new aviation technology â¢ Developing and operating a system of air traffic control and navigation for civil and military aircraft Source: General Aviation Airports: A National Asset, FAA, 2012 Figure 4. Types of aeronautical functions serving public interest at GA airports.
âOtherâ category includes aircraft painting, civil air patrol, agricultural application businesses, rental car agencies, universities and university athletic departments. Of the 102 airports that responded to the industry outreach survey performed for ACRP 01-32, 97 completed this question. Figure 5. Percentage of responding airports hosting businesses, governmental entities and other aeronautical functions.
16 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports â¢ Researching and developing the NAS and civil aeronautics â¢ Developing and carrying out programs to control aircraft noise and other environmental effects of civil aviation Airport Systems The FAA uses various classifications to group airports based on the type and volume of activity at an airport. The first breakout is between primary (commercial service airport with more than 10,000 enplanements per year) and nonprimary (all other airports in the NPIAS). While classification does not change the value of an airport to a community, it is important when it comes to grant assistance for capital projects, as well as the design and operating standards an airport must meet. Within the nonprimary class, the FAA divides airports into reliever and GA, with GA being further divided into four categories. National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems NPIAS is a national system plan of nearly 3,400 existing and proposed airports that are significant to the national air transportation system, as shown in Figure 6. These airports are also eligible to receive federal grant funds, as long as they are in compliance with their grant assurances and property deed restrictions. As part of the NPIAS, the FAA is required to provide Congress with a five-year estimate of AIP-eligible development and is required to update the plan every 2 years. There are eight guiding principles for the national airport system: â¢ Airports should be safe and efficient, located where people will use them and developed and maintained to appropriate standards. â¢ Airports should be affordable to users and the government, relying primarily on producing a self-sustaining revenue stream and planning for minimal burden on the general revenues of the local, state and federal governments. â¢ Airports should be flexible, expandable and able to meet increased demand and accommodate new aircraft types. â¢ Airports should be permanent, with assurance that they will remain open for aeronautical use over the long term. â¢ Airports should be compatible with surrounding communities, maintaining a balance between the needs of aviation, the environment and the requirements of residents. â¢ Airports should be developed in concert with improvements to the air traffic control system and technological advancements. â¢ The airport system should support a variety of critical national objectives, such as defense, emergency readiness, law enforcement and postal delivery. â¢ The airport system should be extensive, providing as many people as possible with convenient access to air transportation, typically by having most of the population within 20 miles of an NPIAS airport. Federal Control State and Local Control Navigable airspace (exclusive control) Airport ordinances and resolutions Aircraft, pilot and airport certification (Part 139) Zoning and land use Aircraft noise standards Building codes Regulation of airports Rules and regulations Regulation of pilots and aircraft Minimum standards Noise abatement and mitigation Taxes and impact fees Source: ACRP Report 58: Airport Industry Familiarization and Training for Part-Time Airport Policy Makers, 2011 Table 2. Federal versus state/local control of aviation activity.
Airport RolesâKey Classifications and Regulations in the Airport System 17 In addition, a guiding principle for federal infrastructure investments is that federal invest- ments should be cost-beneficial. The FAA also conducted a more in-depth study of general airports, resulting in two reports: General Aviation Airports: A National Asset (ASSET 1) and ASSET 2: In-Depth Review of 497 Unclassified Airports. The studies highlighted the important role GA airports play in our society, economy and aviation system. The FAA also grouped GA airports into four categoriesânational, regional, local, and basicâbased on their existing activity levels (see Table 3). In the first study, a number of airports (which includes heliports and sea plane bases) were unclassified. The ASSET 2 study focused on these 497 airports. Through this study, 212 airports were identified to meet the criteria for inclusion as a regional, local or basic airport. Of the 281 airports that remain unclassified, 227 are publicly owned, with little or no activity; 19 are privately owned relievers that do not meet the minimum activity levels for continued designation as a reliever; and 35 do not meet the requirements for inclusion in the NPIAS, because they are privately owned GA airports. These airports remain unclassified in the NPIAS but have the opportunity to move into one of the four categories upon reach- ing the established thresholds. Another four are closed or inactive and were removed from the NPIAS. State Airport System Plans State aeronautics agencies develop their own state airport system plans. A state airport system plan includes (1) airports within the state that are part of the NPIAS and (2) non-NPIAS GA Source: National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (2017â21) Figure 6. NPIAS airports by category and role. It is important for an unclassified airport to contact its FAA ADO.
18 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports airports that are important to the state aviation system. Inclusion in a state system plan is one of the requirements for GA airports to be considered for inclusion in the NPIAS. The primary purpose of a state airport system plan is to study the performance and inter- action of the airports in the state aviation system. When the state airport system is defined, it may also include some cross-state border airports that serve the needs of the state. The state airport system plan examines the current system, air transportation needs and forecast demands, airport roles and recommended system changes and includes an implementation plan. The state airport system plan should be consistent with state and regional goals for transportation, land use and the environment. FAA Advisory Circular 150/5070-7: The Airport System Planning Process contains guidance on the development of state airport system plans. States also may establish licensing requirements for public-use airports not certificated under FAR Part 139. Each state establishes its own licensing requirements, if any, which may be less restrictive than FAA requirements. For any small airports receiving federal grants (federally obligated), the FAA standards still must be met as part of the grant obligations. Source: FAA ASSET 2, 2014 Table 3. ASSET 1 general aviation airport categories and criteria.
Airport RolesâKey Classifications and Regulations in the Airport System 19 Non-NPIAS Airports For public-use airports that are not federally obligated, any applicable state licensing standards are the required minimum standards. The FAA guidance may also be consulted, but in this case it is truly advisory is nature. States may also have minimum requirements for the establishment of private-use airports. The best source for state airport licensing requirements is the state aero- nautics agency. This guidebookâs definition of âsmall airportâ encompasses almost 3,200 NPIAS existing air- ports in the classes of nonhub primary (249 airports), commercial service (127 airports), reliever (259 airports) and GA (2,564 airports). However, this guidebook is intended to serve more than just NPIAS airports, because many small airports are not in the NPIAS but may be part of a state airport system or serve a local need such as an airfield that provides access to recreational areas. Summary of Airport Systems Table 4 shows the characteristics of the airports that fall under the various airport system plans. Airport Ownership and Governance While regulated at a federal and/or state level, airports are generally locally owned. The most common ownership of an airport is by a public entity. Public ownership is typically by a city, county, airport authority, port authority or other governmental entity. ACRP Legal Research Digest 7: Airport Governance and Ownership defines what airport governance includes and the advantages and disadvantages of the various governance structures. ACRP Legal Research Digest 24: Sovereign Immunity for Public Airport Operations examines sovereign immunity as it applies to public airports that are owned and operated by units of local government or regional governmental authorities. Public-use airports can also be owned by private entities. A few public-use airports are also owned by state governments. The type of ownership plays a role in the financial support of the airport. Factors that affect the financial support are whether the owner is an independent entity or part of another larger governmental agency. Some independent governmental entities also have their own taxing authorities that can raise revenue to be dedicated to the airport, whereas when a part of a larger governmental entity, the airport is just one line item within a much larger budget. The state airport-authorizing legislation can also affect airport operations and finances. ACRP Legal Characteristic NPIAS: Primary NPIAS: Nonprimary State System Plan Non-System Plan (Public Use) Certification/ License FAR Part 139 FAR Part 139 or state license if state issues State license if state issues State license if state issues Funding Source(s) AIP (primary entitlement at least $1 million per year) and discretionary, state grants, local funding AIP (nonprimary entitlement up to $150,00 per year), discretionary and state apportionment, state grants, local funding State grants, local funding Typically local funding only, may be privately owned with only private funding Common Users Airlines, charter, general aviation, military Airlines (commercial service), charter, general aviation, military General aviation General aviation NPIAS airports are also included in state system plans, but the certification requirements are due to inclusion in the NPIAS control. Table 4. Characteristics of airports covered by airport system plans.
20 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports Research Digest 15: Compilation of State Airport-Authorizing Legislation presents information on each stateâs airport-specific legislation. Airport managers who work with policymaking boards that have representatives from multiple jurisdictions, or who operate an airport owned by one entity and surrounded by other government jurisdictions, can face additional challenges. These challenges tend to arise when the entities do not have a common goal or are reporting to constituents with varying goals and expectations. When working with representatives from multiple jurisdictions, having defined goals for the airport and clearly communicating the goals, along with the value of the airport to the commu- nity, may assist in addressing concerns. One way to do this is to maximize the opportunity for community input during the planning process, with the goal of obtaining buy-in for long-term plans. Listening to understand the constituency and the concerns represented by each entity is also important. Along with listening, it is important for you or the airport owner to com- municate what is and is not within your or the ownerâs ability to control. For example, public airports that have accepted grants must be available to all aeronautical uses; therefore, the airport owner is not able to restrict classes of users or the times they may use the airport. Continually capitalizing on opportunities to demonstrate the value of the airport to each of the community stakeholders will also help generate support for the airport. The role of the governing body is generally that of a policymaker, whereas the airport manager generally has the role of overseeing the activities and implementing the policy guidance. Table 5 summarizes the roles of the governing body/policymaker and airport management. To communicate well with the airportâs governing body/policymaker (board), you should be familiar with the organization of the board, including the enabling legislation or ordinances that allowed for the creation of the board and the authority granted to the board. As a key staff member to the board, you should be familiar with any administrative expectations, such as scheduling meetings, issuing public notices of meetings, establishing the meeting agenda, taking and producing meeting minutes, etc. At some airports, the board members may take on additional responsibilities to assist with operating the airport. You should be familiar with any assistance they provide and related expectations. When there is a vacancy on the board, you may be asked by the appointing body for suggestions on potential replacements and likely will be expected to familiarize the new board member with the airport. ACRP Report 58 is a tool to familiarize a new board member with the airport and its operations. The board members are important airport stakeholders. Good communication with the board members is essential, as addressed in Stakeholder Engagement. Governing Body/Policymaker Airport Manager/Management Establishes policy Implements policy Establishes vision Reports to the governing body Sets goals Runs the airport day to day Identifies strategies for fulling the vision Operates the airport safely and efficiently Executes contracts or delegates to manager Maintains the airport and its facilities Accepts grants Prepares financial plans Serves as airport advocate Oversees public relations Approves plan and programs Makes provisions for the passengers and the public Selects consultants and service providers Recommends and enforces rules and regulations Oversees the airport managerâs responsibilities Oversees planning and construction projects Secures new business Source: ACRP Report 58: Airport Industry Familiarization and Training for Part-Time Airport Policy Makers, 2011 Table 5. Roles and responsibilities of governing body and airport management. Keep reporting to a governing body simple and transparent.
Airport RolesâKey Classifications and Regulations in the Airport System 21 2.2 Key Types of Regulations for Airport Management Key Insights Multiple federal departments, agencies and offices have promulgated federal regulations related to planning, development, operation and management of an airport that has accepted federal AIP grant funding. When an airport accepts AIP grant funding, the advisory circulars and orders provide a manner approved by the administrator to comply with regulations. Key Definitions Executive orders: Directives from the president of the United States to officers and agencies of the executive branch that have the full force of law for management of agency operations. Regulations: Rules issued by the executive branch departments and agencies of the federal government and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations. Statutes: Laws enacted by Congress; statutes with continuing effects are generally codified in the United States Code. Federal Regulations When accepting federal grants and becoming a federally obligated airport, the airport sponsor needs to meet not only the grant assurances, but the other federal regu- lations associated with the grant assurances. ACRP Report 156: Guidebook for Managing Compliance with Federal Regulations: An Integrated Approach identified 16 federal departments, agencies and offices, in addition to the FAA, with rules pertaining to airports that have accepted federal funds. At small airports, regulations from only some of these agencies will be applicable in day-to-day operations. Others will be primarily applicable when considering poten- tial environmental impacts, and others primarily apply at airports with commercial operations, international operations or both. ACRP Report 156 provides a regulation compliance management tool (RCMT) to assist an airport in identifying applicable regulations. It also provides a compliance management tool to help airports maintain compliance. ACRP Legal Research Digest 9: Case Studies on Community Challenges to Airport Development explores some challenges to airport development that used regulations, especially environmental regulations. While multiple regulations affect airport operations, some, such as the following, are used more often by small airports: â¢ CFR Title 14, Federal Aviation Regulations â¢ NEPA and associated environmental regulations â¢ 49 CFR Chapter XII, Transportation Security Administration, as applicable to civil aviation security â¢ State and local regulations in some casesâsuch as the control of tall structures near an airportâprovide the enforcement tool for the federal regulations that do not include any enforcement authority This and the following section provide an overview of regulations. More details are provided regarding the regulatory environment and its application to the management of small airports in the applicable topic sections throughout this report. 16 FEDERAL AGENCIES WITH REGULATIONS APPLICABLE TO FEDERALLY OBLIGATED AIRPORTS â¢ Customs and Border Protection (CBP) â¢ Department of Agriculture (USDA) â¢ Department of Defense (DoD) â¢ Department of Homeland Security (DHS) â¢ Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) â¢ Department of the Interior (DOI) â¢ Department of Justice (DOJ) â¢ Department of Labor (DOL) â¢ Department of Transportation (DOT) â¢ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) â¢ Federal Communications Commission (FCC) â¢ General Services Administration (GSA) â¢ Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) â¢ Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) â¢ Office of Management and Budget (OMB) â¢ Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Source: ACRP Report 156: Guidebook for Managing Compliance with Federal Regulations: An Integrated Approach, 2016
22 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports The FAA ensures compliance with these applicable federal regulations through the use of grant assurances. When an airport sponsor accepts federal AIP grant funding, the sponsor must commit to abiding by all the FAA grant assurances. The FAA grant assurances become a bind- ing contract for the airport for the life of that asset or land. The grant assurances align with the authorization requirements of the AIP grant program. Therefore, the FAA needs to periodically update the published grant assurances when Congress makes changes to the AIP grant program. Currently, there are 39 grant assurances. For the purposes of grant assurances, the useful life of facilities developed or equipment acquired for an airport development or noise-compatibility program is not to exceed 20 years. There is no limit on exclusive rights and airport revenue grant assurances, as long as the airport remains open and is used as an airport. There is also no time limit, with respect to real property acquired with federal funds under the AIP. Real property acquired with federal funds during prior federal grant programs, such as the Federal-Aid Airport Program and Airport Development Aid Program, may have different rules. You should coordinate with your FAA ADO regarding questions related to land purchased under an earlier grant program. The FAA provides a web page to identify the required federal provisions for airport contract documents. This website includes language that can be used in contracts to meet the required contract provisions for AIP. Some provisions, particularly the civil rights provision that precludes discrimination in the award of the contract, apply to a sponsor that has previously accepted a federal grant, even if the procurement in question does not intend to use federal funding. State and Local Regulations Each state and/or local community can also issue regulations that affect small airport opera- tions and management. The best resource to identify the pertinent regulations is your state aeronautics agency and the entity, or entities, that appoint your airport policymaking board. The most common state regulations are ones that deal with the following: â¢ Airport ownership structure â¢ Airport funding (taxation and bonding) â¢ Airport site/operating certifications â¢ Airspace/tall structures control â¢ Land-use compatibility/zoningâusually designates control to local level â¢ State aviation funding programs Some states may also cover aircraft registration, pilot registration or both. Although pilot licensing and aircraft registration is accomplished through the FAA, some states also require pilots to register themselves, their aircraft or both at the state level. Property Tax Property tax on aviation activities is established at a state level. Some states do not authorize taxes at an airport, and some may simply exclude aeronautical development on an airport from property tax. State regulations also dictate how personal property is taxed. Competitive tax rates can have a market impact for some small airports located near state boundaries. In this case, the taxing structure can make your airport more or less attractive to users based on your location. Because tax exclusion regulations vary by state, to determine if your airport property may be eligible for partial or complete tax exemption, your local tax authorities should always be consulted. Local tax assessors have some leeway in how they view the ad valorem tax (amount based on their valuation) requirements, particularly for aeronautical business activities at each individual airport.