Research conducted by GRA, Incorporated in association with Benedict D. Castellano and Robert E. David.
Part 139 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, requires airports that serve: 1) scheduled passenger-carrying operations of an air carrier operating aircraft designed for more than 9 passenger seats; and 2) unscheduled passenger-carrying operations of an air carrier operating aircraft designed for at least 31 passenger seats, to receive operating certificates from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Operators of Part 139 airports are also required to meet certain aircraft rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) standards.
In March 2001, the FAA tasked the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) to develop a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to identity ARFF requirements that should be added, modified or deleted. Despite the ongoing rulemaking process, some aviation stakeholders are recommending that airports comply with certain National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards and other NFPA-related requirements or International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) fire fighting standards. On the NFPA front, some are recommending that:
- Airports fully comply with NFPA 1710, which in part addresses how airport fire departments meet certain response times when deploying to structural incidents and emergency medical incidents on airport property.
- ARFF personnel should be responsible for initiating exterior and interior aircraft fire suppression and for extricating and rescuing trapped passengers;
- ARFF personnel should be responsible for responding to incidents involving hazardous materials and weapons of mass destruction and that airports comply with NFPA 472, which sets standards for competence of responders to incidents involving hazardous materials and weapons of mass destruction;
- Airports comply with NFPA 403, which establishes a minimum number of ARFF personnel and vehicles at airports, minimum response times and specifies where ARFF vehicles should be garaged; and required amounts of water and extinguishing agent;
- Airports comply with other NFPA standards related to those listed above.
It is unclear how the adoption of the NFPA standards, other NFPA-related requirements and ICAO fire fighting standards would impact airports around the country.
The objectives of this research are to:
- compare the current FAA requirements for ARFF to the proposed NFPA and ICAO standards;
- provide a financial analysis of the operational costs for airports to comply with the NFPA and ICAO standards to the extent that they differ from the costs associated with the current FAA requirements; including assessments and discussions on:
- the initial cost to implement or start-up these new standards,
- the continuing cost to provide services,
- the implications for cost, by size of airport, (cost per enplaned passenger “CPE”), and
- the general implications these costs may have on air service to the community.
- provide a financial analysis of the infrastructure and equipment costs for airports to comply with the NFPA and ICAO standards to the extent that they differ from the costs associated with the current FAA requirements;
- provide an analysis of the cost and benefits of NFPA and ICAO standards compared to the cost and level of safety currently required; and
- if there are increased operational costs associated with NFPA or ICAO standards, examine the possible impact that such costs may have on small airports and their ability to retain and attract new commercial air service.
Status: The contractor's final report is available as ACRP Web-Only Document 7. The executive summary has been published as ACRP Research Results Digest 7.