The National Academies

ACRP 11-02/Task 15 [Completed]

Aviation-Industry Issue Familiarization and Training for Part-time Airport Policymakers
[ ACRP 11-02 (Quick Response for Special Needs) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $75,000
Research Agency: Delta Aviation Consultants, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Rusty Chapman
Effective Date: 12/15/2009
Completion Date: 10/15/2010
Comments: Results published as ACRP Report 58.


Few airports have adequate budgets with which to develop a method to familiarize part-time policymaking leadership and key policy stakeholders on the myriad issues that affect airport policy decisions.  Many airports are unable send part-time commissioners, board members, new policy leaders, or other policy-related stakeholders to conferences or seminars to learn and discuss the regulatory or national-political framework within which airports must operate.  The FAA, responsible for providing regulatory oversight for all airports, cannot interpret all nuances of their regulations to fit individual airport governance, purpose, or motivation models.  It is understood that part-time airport policy leadership may not need to know all or even much of this information to the degree of those who are working full-time within the airport, terminal, or airfield environment; on a technical or managerial basis. However, an overview of policy issues affecting airport administrative and operational decisions would provide airport policy leaders, stakeholders, and policy-related decision-makers a common framework to understand administrative and operational necessity, and thereby make better informed policy decisions.

Key policy issues may include the following:

  • FAA organization and roles.
  • State role, including block grants.
  • Airport Improvement Program and PFCs.
  • Grant assurances required to accept Federal funds.
  • Prerequisites for land release, surplus property,  or transfers of ownership.
  • Public/media relations.
  • The airport's role in or contribution to the community.
  • Generalities and regulatory requirements of airport budgeting and rates & charges.
  • Revenue diversion prohibition(s).
  • Issues related to the environment, aircraft noise, and adjacent land use compatibility.
  • Policies related to security, operations, and maintenance
  • Policies related to consultant selection, design, and construction.
  • Boundaries between technical, management and policy issues.
  • General functional/operational practices of an airport board.
  • National issues of local significance.


The target audience for this project would be airport executives, their part-time policy leaders, and other key airport policy-making stakeholders.

The project will include a review of current ACRP research, current literature, and a survey of airport-industry practices related to airport-policy issues that are typically discussed with members of airport boards, part-time commissioners, policy-reviewing advisory committees, city councils, county boards, city/county managers, and other key participants in airport policy discussions. The research team will survey airports, interview FAA Airport District Office managers, and key industry associations.  The project will assess all collected material and produce a concise summary of key policy issues (A Primer), as well as (stand-alone) recommendations of best practices for conveying information to the part-time policy makers, an agenda or syllabus for presenting key policy issues, and a series of short electronic presentations that convey this information.

Status:  Research in complete and the project report has been published as ACRP Report 58.  A PowerPoint file is also available to assist airports with presenting this material to part-time policy makers.

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