Airport Safety FLT 241


A Commercial Airport, by definition, is a tract of land (or water) that provides facilities for landing, takeoff, shelter, supply, and repair of aircraft and has a passenger terminal. This lesson will provide an overview of the certification process, the certification manual, and safety issues concerning airports. 

Airport Certification 

The Federal Aviation Act of 1958 was broadened in 1970 to authorize the FAA Administrator to issue operating certificated to certain categories of airports serving air carrier aircraft. To be certified by the FAA, airports are required to meet certain standards for airport design, construction, maintenance, and operations as well as firefighting and rescue equipment, runway and taxiway guidance signs, control of vehicles, management of wildlife hazards and record keeping.

In 2004, the FA issued a final rule which made major revisions to its regulations pertaining to airport certification. These regulations, found at 14 CFR Part 139, established new certification requirements for airports serving scheduled air carrier operations in aircraft with more than nine passenger seats.

Airport Certification Classes

In the United States, there are approximately 551 Part 139 airports as of March 2013, broken down as follows: 

  • Class I- 381 Airports
  • Class II- 49 Airports
  • Class III- 35 Airports
  • Class IV- 86 Airports

Airport Certification Manual 

Every certificated airport that serves air carriers is required to have an ACM in accordance with Part 139. The ACM is a working document that outlines the means and procedures used to comply with the requirements of Part 139. While each airport has its own unique features and operational requirements, its Airport Certification Manual will contain basic elements appropriate to its class, which include the following: 


Runway Incursions

Although now in modern aviation times there has been changes to airport certification standards, there is still one recurrent them that still exists Runway Incursions. 

Category of Runway Incursions 

Statistics of Runway Incursions 

According to the latest FAA National Runway Safety Plan (2009-2011), the rate of runway incursions has remained steady during the 4 year period ending in September 2008. During this period, there were nearly 250 million operations in the United States at FAA Towered Airports, resulting in 1,353 runway incursions. The majority (92 percent) were categories C and D events involving little or no risk of collision, but the remainder (8 percent) were categories A and B, serious events. 

Runway Safety Course 

How Do We Mitigate Runway Incursions?

The FAA's Office of Runway Safety has sponsored several initiatives to improve this critical safety area. In its document entitled National Runway Safety Plan 2009-2011, the FAA outlines several programs, which should further the progress of increasing runway safety over the next several years:

  • Safety Management Systems (SMS) Implementation
  • Training and Educational Outreach Programs
  • Technology Development to Control Runway Incursions- ASDE-X, Runway Status Lights, Final Approach Runway Occupancy Signal, Electronic Flight Bag and Low Cost Ground Surveillance.

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