Payments for Small Community Air Service Development

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.

Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories

Program Accomplishments

Because most grant awards span a period of between two and four years, very few projects have reached the end of the grant terms. Of the 30 communities that sought new or expanded air service and have filed final reports as of September 30, 2005, 28 have experienced increased enplanements following the implementation of their respective grants. 25 of the 30 communities reported reduced passenger leakage to other airports. 16 of the 30 communities experienced a reduction in air fares. Furthermore, 26 of the 30 communities received improved air service in the form of increased frequencies, larger aircraft, or additional air carriers. Of these 26 airports, 19 continue to benefit from the improved service following the conclusion of the grant funding.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Grants for specified use, provided on a reimbursable basis.

Grant funds can be used to cover a variety of expenses depending on the approved project.

For example, funds can be expended for marketing, advertising or promotional activities, new studies designed to measure air service deficiencies, or to measure traffic loss or diversion to other communities; employment or use of consulting firms, universities, public relations firms, and new, dedicated air service development staff on a long term basis.

In addition, grant funds may also be used for financial incentives, including subsidy or revenue guarantees to cover the air carrier's prospective operting loss, or to ground service providers in providing access to air transportation services.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

For calendar year 1997, the airport serving the community or consortium was not larger that a small hub airport, and had insufficient air carrier service; or unreasonably high air fares.

Eligible communities/airports are those within the United States and its territories and possessions.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Eligible local communities or consortia of communities, local airports serving those communities, and air carriers.


Communities must apply for the grant program by submitting a project proposal with required data to justify its proposal in accordance with the Department-issued Request for Proposals.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination


This program is excluded from coverage under Executive Order 12372.

Application Procedures

A request for proposals (RFP) soliciting applications from eligible communities is issued each year. The RFP can be accessed on the internet through Additionally, the solicitation is published in the Federal Register and served on the Council of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National Governors Association, the National Association of State Aviation Officials, the Association of County Executives, the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), and the Airports Council International-North America (ACI).

Award Procedures

Applications will be evaluated according to factors established in the RFP and under the guidance of the Vision 100-Century in Aviation Reauthorization Act, P.L. 108-176.


The deadline for filing of proposals is established and specified for each fiscal year in the FRP and can vary from year to year. However, the Department generally provides grant applicants a minimum of 60 days to submit an application.


Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR-21), 49 U.S.C. 41743, Public Law 106-181; Vision 100-Century in Aviation Reauthorization Act, Public Law 108-176.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Can vary from year to year. However, the target is to awards grants within 120 days from the established application deadline.




Application procedures are repeated each year. However, grant recipients are precluded by statute from seeking additional grants in support of the same project.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula or matching requirements. However, cost sharing by the grant applicant is highly encouraged and can accord the grant applicant priority consideration under certain circumstances set forth in the statute.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The period of time for awards will vary with the complexity of the project. Minimum grant duration is one year. The statute limits use of grant funds for air carrier subsidy to a maximum period of three years. The same limitation applies to other forms of ongoing support for air carrier programs. Financial assistance is provided on a reimbursable basis; cash advances will not be made. Funds obligated remain available until expended.

Post Assistance Requirements


Quarterly progress and emplacement reports, and a final report is required.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133, Audits of State and Local governments, and Nonprofit Organizations, nonfederal entities that expend $500,000 or more in a year in Federal awards shall have a single or program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt for Federal audit Requirements for that year. For direct procurement contracts, audit will be conducted in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation.


The grant recipient is expected to retain all documents Relevant to the grant award for a period of seven years from completion of the project.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $8,875,678 $; FY 08 est. $10,000,000; and FY 09 est. $10,000,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Range: 2007, $50,000 to $1.0 million. Average: $345,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

49 U.S.C. 41743, et. Seq.; 14 CFR 302.12 (Rule 12); 49 CFR 1.56a(f), 49 CFR 18.36; Public Law 106-181; Public Law 106-176; Public Law 108-199.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Aloha Ley, Acting Associate Director, Small Community Air Service Development Program, Office of Aviation Analysis, X-50, Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., W86-310, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 366-2347. Fax: (202) 366-7638.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals


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