General aviation airports of all sizes play an integral role in the National Aviation System (NAS). However many of these airports have aging facilities, diminishing operations, changing facility demands to accommodate changes in general aviation industry characteristics, and diminishing revenue sources. These trends coupled with limited staff and budget have made it difficult to properly maintain the facilities above and beyond responding to immediate needs. Airport management often responds well to those immediate needs or “fires” that occur, but that leaves little time for true maintenance planning.
With changes in overall demand, decisions to off-load assets or run them to failure may become options in response to the changing capacity requirements at general aviation airports. However, for most assets, those are not viable options and the assets must be maintained.
Preventative maintenance is effective at ensuring that physical infrastructure assets operate reliably and efficiently. However, preventative maintenance does not receive sufficient attention during the budget process, as it is easy to rationalize not spending dollars on something that appears to be functioning properly. There is little guidance to help airports prioritize those preventative maintenance items and manage maintenance expenditures to maximize the effectiveness of those assets and reduce capital expenditures.
The objectives of this research are to (1) prepare a primer for general aviation governing and policy boards on the value of planning and prioritizing preventative maintenance into the budgeting process; and (2) develop a guidebook for airport management at general aviation airports to help them plan and prioritize the maintenance of physical infrastructure assets to reduce or eliminte catastrophic failures due to a lack of preentative maintenance, and shoudl be scalable to all size general aviation airports.