The National Academies

ACRP 10-21 [Final]

Complying with Federal Regulations: An Integrated Approach

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Research Agency: Aviation Management Consulting Group
Principal Investigator: Jeff Kohlman
Effective Date: 6/27/2014
Completion Date: 12/31/2015


Airports comply with many regulations promulgated from such federal agencies as the FAA, TSA, DOT, OSHA, EPA, and others. These regulations have many required elements such as documentation, inspections, and training, among others. An aspect of compliance with the regulations typically requires written plans that outline how airports will comply with all the elements of the regulation. Airport staff in the department that is directly responsible for compliance with a specific regulation typically writes those plans. This can result in all plans and compliance requirements being implemented in silos. The “silo-effect” can result in staff without direct responsibility for compliance not understanding how their respective responsibilities directly relate to compliance with other applicable federal regulations. It can also result in duplication of efforts. In addition, some of the required elements must be adhered to within a specific timeframe (i.e., FAR Part 139 emergency plan table-top annually), and some require action based on a triggering event (i.e., FAR Part 139 Wildlife Hazard Assessment). Policies and procedures, in addition to the written plans, are another tool that airports can use for implementing regulation elements. However, there has been no guidance on how airports can integrate their plans, policies, and procedures, to have a more consistent approach in implementation, or to efficiently use their limited resources in complying with all appropriate federal regulations.
The objective of this research is to develop guidance for airports of all sizes that (1) identifies the federal regulations that affect airports; (2) provides proposed methods and techniques to integrate resources, plans, policies, and procedures for regulatory compliance; and (3) provides a stand-alone tool to assist airports in tracking regulatory requirements.
The guidance should include at a minimum:
  • Identification of all applicable federal regulations;
  • Identification of required elements of each regulation;
  • Identification of commonalities among the elements;
  • Identification of opportunities where airports can comply with multiple regulations in an efficient manner (e,g., conduct one table-top for FAR Part 139 and TSAR 1542);
  • A master timeline or schedule for regulatory compliance requirements (for both routine action items and triggering events);
  • Identification of how complying with the regulations affects the various airport departments;
  • Education materials for the various airport departments on their respective responsibilities related to regulatory compliance;
  • A tool that allows airports to track each regulatory requirement with the ability to add and/or edit requirements when a regulation is changed; and
  • A list of references that airports can use for further information to comply with the regulations.  

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