The National Academies

ACRP 01-01 [Final]

Guidebook for Managing Small Airports

  Project Data
Funds: $400,000
Research Agency: University of Minnesota, Center for Transportation Studies of Minneapolis, MN
Principal Investigator: James H. Grothaus
Effective Date: 9/19/2006
Completion Date: 3/31/2009
Comments: Results published in ACRP Report 16 and Web-Only Document 5.

ACRP Report 16: Guidebook for Managing Small Airports introduces the myriad issues facing small airports in the United States to airport practitioners. Generally, these practitioners—owners, operators, managers, and policy makers of small airports—are assumed to be responsible for a wide range of activities, often unrelated to the management responsibilities of the airport. This report presents the critically important issues that these practitioners will frequently encounter while wearing the airport manager’s hat.

Managers of small airports are responsible for a wide range of activities that include financial management, oversight of contracts and leases, safety and security, noise control, community relations, compliance with federal grant conditions, facility maintenance, and capital improvements. Yet these managers have varying degrees of experience and a range of backgrounds. Although some management guidance is available for their use, much of it is dated, focused on specific issues, intended for larger airports, or designed as a textbook rather than a practitioner’s handbook. Research was needed to provide operators and managers of small airports with current, comprehensive advice on resources and techniques that can be applied to meet their responsibilities.

Under ACRP Project 01-01, the University of Minnesota, Center for Transportation Studies, contacted nearly 200 airport managers to identify critical issues facing small airports.  This valuable input was an important step toward collecting this compendium of references and resources, which are vital links to finding viable solutions. Many of these airport managers participated in an early review of the draft guidebook to add value, utility, and significance to the final, published report.

The report has the added benefit of presenting a broad array of relevant material in a way that will assist new airport managers and other important airport stakeholders to understand small airport management. Moreover, it presents numerous resources and references, which are relevant to these issues and will help guide readers to solutions, regardless of their level of airport experience or role at the airport.

ACRP Report 16 does not represent all material relevant to managing a small airport, nor is it intended to be a complete collection and dissertation of issues facing small airports.  Many topics, which are relevant to small airports, warrant their own research and report.  Nonetheless, this report is undoubtedly the most current informative resource about many of the most important issues in small airport management.

ACRP Web-Only Document 5: Development of a Guidebook for Managing Small Airports documents the research process and is available on the TRB website (www.trb.org) by searching for “ACRP Web-Only Document 5”.

Status:  Completed.

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