FAA Considering Boost to GA Airport Funding
A shakeup in the methods by which federal funds are allocated to GA airports through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) could soon be in the works. At last week’s American Association of Airport Executives General Aviation and Safety Conference, FAA director of airport safety and standards Michael O’Donnell said his agency will be assembling a committee to examine the means by which it doles out the approximately $4.5 billion a year in airport funding. “General aviation doesn’t fit well in the AIP structure the way it’s set up right now,” he said. “We are going to go into a new initiative with GA, to better define its roles, what its functions are, the infrastructure needs and then review and update their criteria for adding and removing those airports in the National Plan of Integrated Airports and Systems [NPIAS].” Some 2,600 airports–or 75 percent of those listed in the NPIAS–are in the non-reliever GA category. According to O’Donnell, once the review process gets under way it could take several years before stakeholders see benefits. “It’s going to be better than where it is now,” he concluded.