Airport Improvement Program

To assist sponsors, owners, or operators of public-use airports in the development of a nationwide system of airports adequate to meet the needs of civil aeronautics.

Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Construct new public airports; improve and rehabilitate existing public airports; extend runways at existing public airports; purchase fire fighting, rescue, security, snow removal and noise suppressing equipment; acquire land; and install navigation aids.

Planning at individual airports includes demand/capacity analysis, airport noise control and land use compatibility analysis, environmental studies, and system plans for states, regions, and metropolitan areas.

Agency - Department of Transportation

The Department of Transportation's mission is to ensure fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation that meets vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.

Office - Persons are encouraged to contact the Federal Aviation Administration Regional Offices listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Program Accomplishments

In fiscal year 2007, 2,022 grant agreements were executed.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Grants can be made for integrated airport system planning in a specific area; and airport master planning, construction, or rehabilitation at a public-use airport or portion thereof.

Authorizing legislation refers to an airport as any area of land or water used or intended to be used for the landing or taking off of aircraft and includes, within the five categories of airports listed below, special types of facilities such as seaplane bases and heliports.

The statute further defines airports by categories which include commercial service, primary, cargo service, reliever, and general aviation airports.

They are defined as follows: Commercial Service Airports are publicly owned airports that have at least 2,500 passenger boarding each year and receive scheduled passenger service.

Passenger boarding refer to revenue passenger boarding on an aircraft in service in air commerce.

The definition also includes passengers who continue on an aircraft in international flight that stops at an airport in any of the 50 states for a non traffic purpose.

Passenger boarding at airports that receive scheduled passenger service are also referred to as Enplanements.

Nonprimary Commercial Service Airports are Commercial Service Airports that have at least 2,500 and no more than 10,000 passenger boarding each year.

Primary Airports are Commercial Service Airports that have more than 10,000 passenger boarding each year.

These airports are further categorized as Hub Airports, based on the level of passenger boarding.

Hub categories for Primary Airports are defined as a percentage of total passenger boarding in the most current calendar year ending before the start of the current fiscal year.

The definition and formulae used for designating Primary Airports by Hub Type and Percentage of Annual Passenger Boarding are: Large 1 percent or more; Medium - at least 0.25 percent, but less than 1 percent; Small - at least 0.05 percent, but less than 0.25 percent; and Non hub - more than 10,000, but less than 0.05 percent.

Cargo Service Airports are airports that, in addition to any other air transportation services that may be available, are served by aircraft providing air transportation of only cargo with a total annual landed weight of more than 100 million pounds.

Reliever Airports are airports designated by the FAA to relieve congestion at a Commercial Service Airport and to provide more general aviation access to the overall community.

The remaining airports, while not specifically defined in Title 49 U.S.C., are referred to as General Aviation Airports and comprise the largest single group of airports in the U. S. airport system.

Eligible work at airports consists of: (1) airport master plans; (2) airport noise compatibility plans; (3) land acquisition; (4) site preparation; (5) construction, alteration, and rehabilitation of runways, taxiways, aprons, and certain roads within airport boundaries; (6) construction and installation of airfield lighting, navigational aids, and certain offsite work; (7) safety equipment required for certification of airport facility; (8) security equipment required of the sponsor by the Secretary of Transportation by rule or regulation for the safety and security of persons and property on the airport; (9) snow-removal equipment; (10) terminal development; (11) aviation-related weather reporting equipment; (12) equipment to measure runway surface friction; (13) burn area training structures and land for that purpose, on or off airport; (14) agency-approved noise compatibility projects; (15) relocation of air traffic control towers and navigational aids (including radar) if they impede other projects funded under AIP; (16) land, paving, drainage, aircraft deicing equipment and structures for centralized deicing areas; and (17) projects to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Clean Air Act, and Federal Water Pollution Control.

Under limitedcriteria construction ofhangarsand automobile parking is eligible.

Grants may not Be made for the construction of hangars, most automobile parking facilities, buildings not related to the safety of persons on the airport, decorative landscaping or artwork, or routine maintenance and repair.

Technical advisory services are also provided.

Formula funds are available to primary commercial service airports and to cargo service airports.

Discretionary funds may be used at any eligible facility.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

States, counties, municipalities, U.S.

Territories and possessions, other public agencies including an Indian tribe or pueblo, the republics of the Marshall Islands and Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia, are eligible for airport development grants if the airport on which the development is required is listed in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS).

Certain units of local government may be eligible for grants to implement noise compatibility projects.

Private owners of public-use reliever airports or airports having at least 2,500 passenger boarding annually and receiving scheduled passenger aircraft service are eligible.

Beneficiary Eligibility

States, counties, municipalities, U.S. Territories and possessions, and other public agencies including an Indian tribe or pueblo, the republics of the Marshall Islands and Palau, The Federated States of Micronesia, and private owners of reliever airports or airports having at least 2,500 passenger boarding annually and receiving scheduled passenger aircraft service.


Sponsors must submit information establishing financial capability and legal authority to accomplish the project and to operate the airport. Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 for State and local governments.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

A Preapplication conference is recommended but not required.

Consultation and assistance available at FAA Offices.

Applications should be reviewed under the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 83 Stat.

852; and Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, 49 U.S.C.


An environmental assessment will be needed for some projects.

The standard application forms as furnished by the Federal agency and required by 49 CFR 18, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments, must be used for this program.

Application Procedures

Preapplication for Federal Assistance, SF 424, Part I (facesheet) filed with FAA field office, reviewed by the regional office and/or Washington office for program approval, as appropriate. For master plans (may be combined as part of development project), noise compatibility plans, and system plans, SF-424 and Parts II through V of FAA Form 5100-101, Application for Federal Assistance, must be submitted to FAA field offices. Level of approval is dependent on the type of airport and amount of FAA monies requested. No State plan is required. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110.

Award Procedures

Upon program approval for development projects, applicant submits project application, SF 424, Part I (facesheet) and remaining parts of FAA Form 5100-100 to FAA field office. Master, noise compatibility, and system plan grant applications are submitted to FAA field offices and upon approval, grant offers are made by FAA field offices. Either the district or regional office prepares Grant Offer, FAA Form 5100-37, for planning and development for execution by FAA applicant.


Primary airport sponsors must notify FAA by January 31 or another date specified in the Federal Register of their intent to apply for funds to which they are entitled under Section 47102 of Title 49, United States Code. A reminder is published annually in the Federal Register. Other sponsors are encouraged to submit early in the fiscal year and to contact the appropriate FAA field office for any local deadlines. Sponsors must formally accept grant offers no later than September 30 for grant funds appropriated in that fiscal year.


Public Law 103-272.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 90 to 120 days. If the project is challenged on environmental grounds, approval may take longer.


Not applicable.



Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Current Federal government share of allowable costs are as follows. (1) Projects at large and medium hub primary commercial service airports: Airport development, 75 percent; terminal development, 75 percent; noise compatibility program implementation, 80 percent; master planning and noise compatibility planning, 75 percent. (2) Projects at all other public use airports (includes commercial service other than large and medium hub general aviation, reliever, other commercial service, and eligible privately owned airports): Airport development, noise compatibility program implementation, terminal development, airport planning and noise compatibility planning all at 90 percent. Currently through FY 2007, there is a temporary increase to 95 percent for these airports. Entities eligible to sponsor system planning studies include State, local and federally recognized tribal governments, designated metropolitan planning organizations, U.S. Territories and possessions, the Republics of the Marshall Islands and Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia . The range of financial or other matching assistance required from nonfederal sources, varies from 10 percent to 25 percent depending on the category of the sponsor, the type of project and the amount of public land in the State.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

No set period of time. Assistance is released upon application for reimbursement of expenses or by letter of credit.

Post Assistance Requirements


During the project, the sponsor monitors performance to ensure that time schedules are being met.

Periodic reports, as required, are forwarded to FAA.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003); Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations, nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in circular No. A-133.


Sponsors' records are required to be made available for inspection by FAA, OIG/DOT and the General Accounting Office. An airport layout plan must be kept up to date and available as long as the grant agreement lasts, ordinarily a period of 20 years. Accounting records reflecting all project costs, books, documents, and records pertinent to grants are to be retained for 3 years after date of submission of final expenditure report.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $3,401,659,000; FY 08 $3,310,112,000; and FY 09 est not available.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$4,180 to $44,059,334. Average: $1,682,324.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Federal Aviation Administration Order and Advisory Circulars (FAA Order 5100.38C, Airport Improvement Program Handbook, and FAA Advisory Circulars in the l50/5100 series).

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Persons are encouraged to contact the Federal Aviation Administration Regional Offices listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Headquarters Office

Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Airport Planning and Programming, Airports Financial Assistance Division, APP-500, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591. Telephone: (202) 267-3831.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Only those Airport Improvement Program (AIP) projects considered by the FAA Administrator to be necessary to provide for a safe and efficient airport system and to meet the current and projected growth of civil aeronautics will be considered for selection. The airports at which AIP projects are proposed must be included in the National Plan of Integrated Airports Systems (NPIAS).

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