Wed, Jul 06, 2011
Goal Is To Better Define Role Of Non-Primary Airports In Their
The FAA is in the midst of a top-down look at the current
general aviation airport system in the U.S. to better describe and
explain the many roles and functions these airports serve in their
respective communities. The review, which began last fall, is
focusing on infrastructure needs, based on the roles and functions
of the airports.
In recent years, the FAA has conducted two studies to look at
capacity and development needs at commercial service airports, and
now the agency is turning its attention to general aviation
airports. There are 2,950 nonprimary airports included in the
National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS), including
nonprimary commercial service, reliever and general aviation
airports. This is in contrast to the four distinct categories for
the nation’s 368 primary airports.
Defining these airports simply as “nonprimary” does
not adequately describe the many diverse roles these airports play
in their communities. General aviation airports provide a variety
of functions, ranging from access for emergency medical services,
disaster relief, aerial firefighting, law enforcement and border
control to agricultural functions, flight training, charter
passenger and time-sensitive air cargo services, among others.
The FAA is working closely with aviation industry stakeholders
including associations, state aeronautical agencies, airport
directors, airport authorities, airport planners, local councils of
governments, and aviation user groups to classify general aviation
airports based on the roles they support. These stakeholders agree
that more descriptive categories are needed in order to help the
general public understand the importance of these airports and
their capital investment needs.
With input from aviation industry stakeholders, the FAA will
develop a list of classifications for general aviation airports and
publish a report by January 2012.
The report will:
- Propose updated federal airport classifications for general
aviation airports that reflect the airports’ roles in their
community, region and national system.
- Provide examples to illustrate the value of each airport
- Provide a framework for a strategic vision for the national
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