WASHINGTON, D.C. — The FAA has issued its second study of general aviation airports, called ASSET 2, this time covering 497 airports that did not fit into a category under the original study.
In 2012, the FAA released a one-year-and-a-half study that examined the role GA airports play in the national aviation system. Nearly 3,000 GA airports were placed into four categories: National, regional, local, and basic. The 497 airports in the second study did not fit into any of those categories.
The FAA began working in January 2013 with airport sponsors, state aviation offices and the general aviation industry to conduct in-depth reviews of the unclassified airports. As a result of this work, the FAA placed 212 of the 497 airports into categories, leaving 281 airports unclassified. Included in this are 227 publicly owned airports with what the FAA says is little or no activity. Four airports had been closed.
According to FAA officials, 91 of the previously unclassified airports updated their basic aircraft data or were recently classified as non-primary commercial service airports. Another 12 were categorized because they are either owned by or serve a Native American community and provide what the FAA calls a critical link for the community.
With ASSET 2 information, the FAA now reports there are 84 national airports; 468 regional; 1,263 local; 852 basic airports; 281 unclassified; and four closed, adding up to 2,952 airports.
There are now six states with no unclassified airports: Colorado, Maryland, Nevada, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
The FAA examines all airports, including those unclassified, every two years and submits a report to Congress on the airport system. The agency will reexamine the nonprimary airports every other year as part of the report. The next review will be in 2016. The FAA began the national review of general aviation airports in 2010.
In all, there are more than 19,000 airports, heliports, seaplane bases, and other landing facilities in the United States and its territories. Of these, 3,330 are included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS), are open to the public, and are eligible for federal funding.
According to the FAA, 378 are considered primary airports and support commercial air service. The remaining airports among those eligible for federal funding are basically general aviation facilities, but 121 of these also serve airlines with at least 2,500 air service boardings a year.
As a lead-in to the first report, FAA’s Associate Administrator for Airports cites some of the ways GA airports serve the nation and fit into the national airports system. “We applaud the local communities,” she said, “for their continuing support and commitment to aviation.”