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Along with the multitude of responsibilities and tasks associated with operating an
airport on a day-to-day basis, airport management is also ultimately responsible for
the significant responsibility of providing a vision for the future of the airport. On a
larger scale, municipalities that are served by more than one airport, as well as
individual states and even the United States as a whole, are handed the responsibility
of strategically planning for a coordinated system of airports to best meet the future
needs of the traveling public. Airport planning may be defined as the employment of
an organized strategy for the future management of airport operations, facilities
designs, airfield configurations, financial allocations and revenues, environmental
impacts, and organizational structures. There are various types of airport planning
studies, including:
Facilities planning, which focuses on future needs for airfield infrastructure such
as runways, taxiways, aircraft parking facilities, associated lighting,
communication and navigational systems, terminal buildings and facilities,
parking lots, ground access infrastructure, and support facilities such as fuel
farms, power plants, and no aeronautical land uses such as office parks, hotels,
restaurants, or rental car locations.
Financial planning, which is concerned with predicting future revenues and
expenses, budgeting resources, and planning for financial assistance through grant
programs, bond issues, or private investment.
Economic planning, which considers the future of economic activity, such as
trade and commerce, and the activity of industries that exist on airport and off-
airport property and are either a direct or indirect result of airport operations.
Environmental planning, which concentrates on maintaining or improving
existing environmental conditions in the face of changes in future airport activity.
Environmental planning includes land use planning, noise mitigation, wetland
reclamation, and wildlife preservation. Organizational planning, which entails
the management of future labor requirements and organizational structures for the
airport administration, staff, and associated labor force.
Strategic planning, which encompasses all other planning activities into a
coordinated effort to maximize the future potential of the airport to the
Airport system planning
Airport system planning is a planning effort that considers a collection of airports,
either on a local, state, regional, or national level, expected to compliment each other
as part of a coordinated air transportation system. Through airport system planning,
the objectives of individual airports are set in accordance with the needs of the
community by, for example, setting the mission of each airport to serve certain
segments of the demand for aviation, such as targeting one airport in a region to
handle international commercial air travelers and another airport to handle primarily
smaller general aviation aircraft operations.
National-level system planning
Airport planning at the national level is the responsibility of the FAA, whose interests
are to provide guidance for development of the vast network of publicly owned
airports and to establish a frame of reference for investment of federal funds. These

interests are set forth in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS),
a document required under the Airport and Airway Improvement Act of 1982. The
NPIAS is a 10-year plan that is revised every 2 years and is closely coordinated with
the FAA's 10-year capital investment plan to improve the air traffic control system
and airway facilities. The NPIAS is not a plan in the fullest sense. It does not
establish priorities, lay out a timetable, propose a level of funding, or commit the
federal government to a specific course of action. Instead, it is merely an inventory of
the type and cost of airport developments that might take place during the planning
period at airports eligible for federal assistance. It is a tabular, state-by-state
presentation of data for individual airports, listed in a common format, indicating
location, role, type of service, and level of activity (enplanements and operations)
currently and for 5 and 10 years in the future. Projected costs of airport needs in
categories--land, paving, lighting, approach aids, terminal, and other--are shown,
also at intervals of 5 and 10 years.
Estimates of need contained in NPIAS are developed by comparing FAA national and
terminal area forecasts to the present capacity of each airport. Much of the initial
determination of need and the regular updating is performed by FAA regional offices,
which monitor changes and developments being carried out at the airports. NPIAS is
not a simple compilation of local master plans or state airport system plans, although
FAA does draw on these documents as sources in forming judgments about future
needs and prospective airport improvements.
NPIAS is not a complete inventory of airport needs. The plan contains only airport
development in which there is a potential federal interest and on which federal
funds may be spent under the current Airport Improvement Program
(AIP) or former Airport Development Aid Program (ADAP) and the Planning
Grant Program. There are two necessary conditions in the test of potential federal
interest. First, the airport must meet certain minimum criteria as an eligible recipient
for federal aid and, second, the planned improvement at that airport must be of a type
that is eligible for federal aid. Eligible projects include such projects as land
acquisition for expansion of an airfield, paving for runways and taxiways, installation
of lighting or approach aids, and expansion of public terminal areas. Improvements
ineligible for federal aid are not included in NPIAS: construction of hangars, parking
areas, and revenue-producing terminal areas that airports are expected to build with
private, local, or state funds.
NPIAS relates airport system improvements to three levels of need:
Level I. Maintain the airport system in its current condition Level II. Bring the system
up to current design standards Level III. Expand the system Maintaining the system
includes such projects as repaving airfields and replacing lighting systems; bringing
the system up to standards involves such projects as installing new light systems and
widening runways; and expanding the system includes construction of new airports or
lengthening runways to accommodate larger aircraft.

Airport Planning
A more or less standard process has evolved over the years for the design of
passenger terminals at airports. It consists of four steps:
1) Forecasting traffic levels for peak hours;
2) Specification of level-of-service standards;
3) Flow Analysis and determination of server and space requirements; and
4) Configuration of servers and space.
The review of these steps provides the basis for understanding why and how the
current design process should be changed.
Forecasting of traffic levels at peak hours:
The objective of this exercise is to produce highly detailed, peak-hour demand
scenarios for the design day many years ahead. These figures provide the basis for the
actual design. It is a most speculative enterprise.
This forecasting process normally first estimates aggregate traffic for the "target year"
for which a new, expanded or modified terminal is being designed. This aggregate
forecast, in turn, is converted into a further estimate of traffic for the "design day",
normally taken to be as the 30th. or 40th. busiest day of the year, or as something such
as the "average weekday of the peak month". This is usually done using a set of
"conversion factors", partly based on historical data. Note that the target year is
arbitrary, generally a round number; and that the use of conversion factors assumes
that the pattern of traffic over twenty years or so is predictable, contrary to our current
Design exercises furthermore frequently develop hour-by-hour traffic scenarios for
the design day, down to the level of a specific schedule of flights, for which
assumptions must be made concerning the type of aircraft involved, their origin or
destination, load factors, percentage of transfer or transit passengers, etc. When one
recognizes the difficulty of predicting a flight schedule six months from now, it is
clear that its forecast for twenty years hence is close to divination.
Forecasts are in any case demonstrably inaccurate. This has been repeatedly shown by
retrospective analyses comparing forecasts to what actually occurred (U.S. Office of
Technology Assessment, 1982; Ascher, 1978; de Neufville, 1976). The six-year
forecasts of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration have been, over the years, over
15 to 20 percent different from reality about half the time.
Figure 1 illustrates the situation for aggregate national forecasts. The situation gets
worse for more detailed predictions, as one moves to individual airports and then to
subsections of the airport activities. It is well known that the higher variability of the
detailed forecasts tend to cancel out as they are aggregated. In any event, no
confidence should be placed in the detailed forecasts usually generated by the
standard design process for airport terminal buildings.
The number of passengers served at an airport is typically used to measure the level of
activity at airports which predominately serve commercial passengers traveling on the
world's air carriers. Measuring passenger activity provides airport management with
information that will allow for the proper planning and management for facilities used
by passengers, including passenger terminals, parking garages, gate areas, and
Specifically, the term enplanements (or enplaned passengers) are used to describe the
number of passengers that board an aircraft at an airport. Annual enplanements are
often used to measure the amount of airport activity, and even evaluate the amount of
funding to be provided for improvement projects. The term deplanements (or
deplaned passengers) are used to describe the number of passengers that deplane an
aircraft at an airport.
The term total passengers are used to describe the number of passengers that either
board or deplane an aircraft at an airport. At many airports, the number of total
passengers is roughly double the number of annual enplanements. However, at
airports where the majority of passengers are transfer passengers, the number of
passengers is more than double the number of enplanements. This is because transfer
passengers are counted twice, once when deplaning their arriving flight, and then
again when boarding their next flight. Because of this distortion, passenger volumes
are not often used to estimate passenger activity at an airport, although the largest
airports serving as airline hubs often use the passenger volumes to advertise their
grandeur. To remove this bias, most official measures of airport passenger activity are
given in terms of enplanements. Cargo activity is typically used to measure the level
of activity at airports that handle freight and mail. Airports located near major
seaports, railroad hubs, and large metropolitan areas, as well as airports served by the
nation's cargo carriers (such as FedEx and UPS) accommodate thousands of tons of
cargo annually. The number of aircraft operations is used as a measure of activity at
all airports, but is the primary measure of activity at general aviation airports. An
aircraft operation is defined as a takeoff or a landing. When an aircraft makes a
landing and then immediately takes off again, it is known as a touch and go and is
counted as two operations. This activity is common at many general aviation airports
where there is a significant amount of flight training. When an aircraft takes off and
lands at an airport without landing at any other airport, the aircraft is said to be
performing local operations. An itinerant operation is a flight that takes off from one
airport and lands at another. Another, albeit, indirect measure of airport activity is
identified by the number of aircraft based at the airport. A based aircraft is an
aircraft that is registered as a resident of the airport. Typically, the owner of such an
aircraft will pay a monthly or annual fee to park the aircraft at the airport, either
outside in a designated aircraft parking area or in an indoor hangar facility. The
number of based aircraft is used to indirectly measure activity primarily at smaller
airports where private general aviation is dominant. At airports that primarily
handle the air carriers, relatively few aircraft are actually based.
Operations and based aircraft are measures of activity that influence the planning and
management primarily of the airside of airports, such as the planning and
management of runways, taxiways, navigational aids, gates, and aircraft parking
In general, airport management measure the activity levels of their airports on the
basis of all levels of passenger, cargo, operations, and based aircraft activity; virtually
all airports, especially the largest airports in the nation, accommodate passengers and
cargo, as well as air carrier and private aircraft operations.
The national administrative structure of airports
All civil-use airports, large and small, in one way or another, utilize the United States'
Civil Aviation System. The civil aviation system is an integral part of the United
States' transportation infrastructure. This vital infrastructure is administered through
the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), led by the secretary of
transportation (Fig. 1-3). The DOT is divided into several administrations that oversee
the various modes of national and regional transportation in the United States. Such
administrations include:
FHWA--The Federal Highway Administration
FMCSA--The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
FRA--The Federal Railroad Administration
FRA--The Federal Transit Administration
MARAD--The Maritime Administration
NHTSA--The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration USCG

The United States Coast Guard The administration that oversees civil aviation is the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA's primary mission is to oversee the
safety of civil aviation. The FAA is responsible for the rating and certification of
pilots and for the certification of airports, particularly those serving commercial air
carriers. The FAA operates the nation's air traffic control system, including most air
traffic control towers found at airports, and owns, installs, and maintains visual and
electronic navigational aids found on and around airports. In addition, the FAA
administers the majority of the rules that govern civil aviation and airport operations,
as well as plays a large role in the funding of airports for improvement and expansion.
The FAA is led by an administrator who is appointed by the secretary of
transportation for a 5-year term.
The FAA is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Headquarter offices within the FAA
include the offices of Air Traffic Services (ATS), Office of Security and Hazardous
Matericals (ASH), Commercial Space Transportation (AST), Regulation and
Certification (AVR), Research and Acquisitions (ARA), and Airports (ARP). Within
the Office of Airports lies the Office of Airport Safety and Standards (AAS) and the
Office of Planning and Programming (APP). It is in these offices where Federal
Aviation Regulations and policies specific to airports are administered. The FAA is
also divided into nine geographic regions, as illustrated in Fig. 1-4.
Within each region are two or more Airport District Offices (ADOs). ADOs
Airport management on an international level
Internationally, the recommended standards for the operation and management of
civil-use airports are provided by the International Civil Aviation Organization
(ICAO). ICAO, headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, is a membership-based
organization, comprised of 188 contracting states that span the world. ICAO came
into existence as a part of the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil
Aviation for the purpose of providing a source of communication and standardization
among participating states with respect to civil aviation operations. ICAO publishes a
series of recommended policies and regulations to be applied by individual states in
the management of their airports and civil aviation systems.
In most individual countries, airports are managed directly by the federal government,
most often under the ministry of transport. In some countries, including the United
States, many airports are privately owned and operated, although, despite private
ownership, they are still subject to much of the country's regulations regarding
aviation operations.
The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems
Since 1970, the Federal Aviation Administration has recognized a subset of the 5,400
public-use airports in the United States as being vital to serving the public needs for
air transportation, either directly or indirectly, and may be made eligible for federal
funding to maintain their facilities. The National Airport System Plan (NASP) was the
first such plan, which recognized approximately 3,200 such airports. In addition, the
NASP categorized these airports on the basis of each airport's number of annual
enplanements and the type of service provided. The NASP categorized airports as
being commercial service airports if the airport enplaned at least 2,500 passengers
annually on commercial air carriers or charter aircraft. Commercial service airports
were subcategorized as air carrier airports and commuter airports, depending on
the type of service dominant at a given airport. Airports that enplaned less than 2,500
passengers annually were classified as general aviation airports. In 1983, the final
year of the NASP, a total of 780 commercial service airports (635 air carrier airports
and 145 commuter airports) and 2,423 general aviation airports were recognized
under the NASP.
With the passage of the Airport and Airway Act of 1982, the FAA was charged with
preparing a new version of the NASP, to be called the National Plan of Integrated
Airport Systems (NPIAS).
The NPIAS revised the method of classifying airports, primarily to reflect the extreme
growth in annual enplanements that a relative few of the largest airports were
experiencing at the time. As of 2002, a total of 3,364 airports in the United States
were included in the NPIAS.
The categories of airports listed in the NPIAS are:
Primary commercial service airports
Commercial service airports
General aviation airports
Reliever airports

The components of an airport
An airport is a complex transportation facility, designed to serve aircraft, passengers,
cargo, and surface vehicles. Each of these users is served by different components of
an airport. The components of an airport are typically placed into two categories.
The airside of an airport is planned and managed to accommodate the movement of
aircraft around the airport as well as to and from the air. The airside components of an
airport are further categorized as being part of the local airspace or the airfield. The
airport's airfield component includes all the facilities located on the physical property
of the airport to facilitate aircraft operations. The airspace surrounding an airport is
simply the area, off the ground, surrounding the airport, where aircraft maneuver,
after takeoff, prior to landing, or even merely to pass through on the way to another
airport. The landside components of an airport are planned and managed to
accommodate the movement of ground-based vehicles, passengers, and cargo. These
components are further categorized to reflect the specific users being served. The
airport terminal component is primarily designed to facilitate the movement of
passengers and luggage from the landside to aircraft on the airside. The airport's
ground access component accommodates the movement of ground-based vehicles to
and from the surrounding metropolitan area, as well as between the various buildings
found on the airport property. No matter what the size or category of an airport, each
of the above components is necessary to properly move people from one metropolitan
area to using air transportation. The components of an airport are planned in a manner
that allows for the proper flow from one component to another. An example of a
typical flow between components is illustrated in Fig. 4-1. Figure 4-1 further
identifies some of the facilities located on the airfield and ground access components
of the airport.

The airfield
The area and facilities on the property of an airport that facilitate the movement of
aircraft are said to be part of the airport's airfield. The airfield of any given airport is
planned, designed, and managed to specifically accommodate the volume and type of
aircraft that utilize the airport. As one would expect, the planning and management of
airfields at small general aviation airports is very different from that of large
commercial service airports, although many of the fundamental principles that govern
the planning and management of each type of airfield are very similar.
The most prominent facilities that are located on an airport's airfield are runways,
taxiways, aircraft parking areas, navigational aids, lighting systems, signage, and
markings. In addition, facilities to aid in the safe operation of the airport, such as air
rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) facilities, snow plowing and aircraft de-icing stations,
and fuel facilities may be located on or closely near the airfield. The smallest of
airports may have very simple airfield infrastructures, such as a single unlit runway
with very minimal markings, no taxiways, and little in the way of signage or aircraft
parking areas, whereas larger airport airfields may have complex systems of multiple
runways and taxiways, various airfield lighting systems and navigational aids, and the
highest levels of ARFF and other facilities.
Perhaps the single most important facility on the airfield is the runway. After all,
without a properly planned and managed runway, desired aircraft would be unable to
use the airport. Regulations regarding the management and planning of runway
systems are some of the most comprehensive and strict in airport management. For
example, strict design guidelines must be followed when planning runways, with
particular criteria for the length, width, orientation (direction), configuration (of
multiple runways), slope, and even pavement thickness of runways, as well as the
immediate airfield area surrounding the runways to assure that there are no dangerous
obstructions preventing the safe operation of aircraft. Runway operations are
facilitated by systems of markings, lighting systems, and associated airfield signage
that identify runways and provide directional guidance for aircraft taxiing, takeoff,
approach, and landing. Strict regulations regarding the use of runways, including
when and how the aircraft may use a runway for takeoff and landing, are imposed on
airfield operations.
The basic runway configurations are the following:
Single runway
This is the simplest of the 4 basic configurations. It is one runway optimally
positioned for prevailing winds, noise, land use and other determining factors. During
VFR (visual flight rules) conditions, this one runway should accommodate up to 99
light aircraft operations per hour. While under IFR (instrument flight rules)
conditions, it would accommodate between 42 to 53 operations per hour depending on
the mix of traffic and navigational aids available at that airport.

Parallel runways
There are 4 types of parallel runways. These are named according to how closely they
are placed next to each other. Operations per hour will vary depending on the total
number of runways and the mix of aircraft. In IFR conditions for predominantly light
aircraft, the number of operations would range between 64 to 128 per hour.

Open-V runways
Two runways that diverge from different directions but do NOT intersect form a
shape that looks like an "open-V" are called open-V runways. This configuration is
useful when there is little to no wind as it allows for both runways to be used at the
same time. When the winds become strong in one direction, then only one runway
will be used. When takeoffs and landings are made away from the two closer ends,
the number of operations per hour significantly increases. When takeoffs and landings
are made toward the two closer ends, the number of operations per hour can be
reduced by 50%.

Intersecting runways
Two or more runways that cross each other are classified as intersecting runways.
This type of configuration issued when there are relatively strong prevailing winds
from more than one direction during the year. When the winds are strong from one
direction, operations will be limited to only one runway. With relatively light winds,
both runways can be used simultaneously. The greatest capacity for operations is
accomplished when the intersections close to the takeoff end and the landing
threshold as shown below (with the configuration on the left).


The capacity for the number of operations varies greatly with this runway
configuration. It really depends upon the location of the intersection and the manner
in which the runways are operated (IFR, VFR, aircraft mix). This type of
configuration also has the potential to use a greater amount of land area than parallel
runway configurations.
Airports also use standardized lighting and ground markings to provide direction and
identification to all air and ground crews. To assist pilots in differentiating at night
between airport runways and freeways, airports have rotating beacon lights. These
beacons usually flash green and white lights to indicate a civilian airport. They are
visible from the air long before the entire airport is recognizable. To help pilots at
night quickly identify the beginning of a runway, green threshold lights line the
runway's edge. Red lights mark the ends of runways and indicate obstructions. Blue
lights run alongside taxiways while runways have white or yellow lights marking their
edges. All these markings and lights serve to set a safety standard for all pilots to

Runway orientation

When the Wright brothers made their first flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903,there were no
runways to facilitate the flight. However, certain conditions existed during the flight
that led directly to the orientation of today's runways. The Wright brothers knew that,
since fixed-wing aircraft rely on airflow over the aircraft's wings to achieve flight, the
appropriate direction to take off an aircraft was into whichever way the wind was
blowing. This allows aircraft to achieve the desired amount of airflow over the wings
with the least amount of ground speed and takeoff distance. Similarly, the safest
direction in which to land an aircraft is also into the wind. As a result of this physical
property of aircraft, airport runways are typically oriented into the prevailing winds of
the area. While many airports have runways that are oriented in different directions,
the runway that is oriented into the prevailing winds is known as the primary runway.

Just as it is most appropriate for aircraft to take off and land into the wind, that is,
with a headwind, it is least appropriate, and in fact sometimes highly unsafe, to land
or take off with a wind blowing directly perpendicular to the direction of travel, that
is, with a direct crosswind. Smaller, lighter, slower-moving aircraft tend to be much
more sensitive to crosswinds than larger aircraft. As a result, airports that are located
in areas with winds that blow from various directions at sufficient wind speeds and/or
accommodate primarily smaller aircraft are also planned with runways oriented
toward the most common crosswind directions. These runways are known as
crosswind runways. The planning of primary and crosswind runways with respect to
runway orientation is discussed in more detail in Chap. 11 of this text.
Although many airports have only one runway, airports which typically serve smaller
aircraft tend to have additional runways in the form of crosswind runways (Fig. 4-2).
Airports serving higher volumes of primarily larger aircraft tend to have additional
runways in the form of parallel primary runways or simply parallel runways (Fig.
4-3). Airports which serve a high volume of both larger and smaller aircraft
operations might have both parallel and crosswind runways.
Runways are in fact defined by their orientation with respect to magnetic north.
Runways are identified by their degrees from magnetic north, divided by 10, rounded
to the nearest integer. For example, a runway oriented to the east, that is, 90 degrees
from magnetic north, would be identified as runway 9. A northerly oriented runway is
identified as runway 36. Often, the planning of runways is considered so that aircraft
may also operate with headwinds when the winds at an airport blow from the opposite
direction to that of the prevailing winds. When runways are planned in such a manner,
the runway is identified by both of its possible operating directions. For example, a
runway whose primary orientation is easterly but also may be used in a westerly
direction (i.e., 270 degrees from magnetic north) would be identified as runway 9-27.
The lower number is always identified first, regardless of which direction is actually
the primary operating orientation.
For planning purposes, runways are identified by the one or two allowable operating
directions. For operating purposes, however, runways are identified only by the
current direction of operations.
Runway length and width
Because aircraft require given minimum distances to accelerate for takeoff and to
decelerate after landing, runways are planned with specific lengths to accommodate
aircraft operations. Characteristics that determine the required length of a runway
include the performance specifications of the runway's design aircraft and the
prevailing atmospheric conditions. Specifically, the maximum gross takeoff weight,
acceleration rate, and safe lift off velocity of aircraft are considered. In addition, the
elevations above sea level (known as MSL) of the airport, along with the outside air
temperature significantly affect required runway lengths. This is due to the fact that
air at higher elevations and at higher temperatures is less dense that cooler air and air
closer to sea level. The density of air is a significant determinant in the takeoff
performance of aircraft.
Most air carrier jet aircraft require between 6,000 and 10,000 feet of runway length
for takeoff at a typical airport located at sea level. Many smaller general aviation
aircraft have the ability to utilize runways as short as 2,500 feet (or in some cases
even shorter).
As with runway length, the width of a runway is determined by the design aircraft.
Specifically, the wingspan of the largest aircraft performing 500 annual itinerant
operations determines the width of a runway. Runway widths at public-use airports
vary from 50 to 200 feet, whereas the most common runway width planned to
accommodate commercial service air carrier operations is 150 feet.
Runway pavements
In 1903, the relatively light weight of the Wright brothers' first flyer allowed the
aircraft, and all other aircraft of the time, the ability to operate on grass. Even today,
many of the lighter aircraft in use have the ability to take off and land on any of the
hundreds of grass runways that exist. However, with the creation of heavier aircraft, it
became necessary to stabilize and strengthen the runway environment. Today,
virtually all commercial service airports have at least one paved runway to
accommodate the full fleet of commercial and general aviation aircraft.
The first paved runway was constructed in 1928 at the Ford Terminal in Dearborn,
Michigan. During the next 5 years paved runways were constructed in Cheyenne,
Wyoming; Glendale, California; Louisville, Kentucky; and Cincinnati, Ohio. By the
middle of the 1930s, paved runways and airfields became popular at civilian as well
as military airports. With the introduction of larger aircraft in the years following
World War II, runway pavements became a necessity rather than a luxury. Today, the
thickness of runway pavements ranges from 6 inches for runways serving lighter
aircraft to over 3 feet for runways serving large commercial service aircraft.
Runways may be constructed of flexible (asphalt) or rigid (concrete) materials.
Concrete, a rigid pavement that can remain useful for 20 to 40 years, is typically
found at large commercial service airports and former military base airfields.
Runways made of rigid pavements are typically constructed by aligning a series of
concrete slabs connected by joints that allow for pavement contraction and expansion
as a result of the loading of aircraft on the pavement surface, and as a result of
changes in air temperature. Runways constructed from flexible pavement mixtures are
typically found at most smaller airports. Flexible pavement runways are typically
much less expensive to construct than rigid pavement runways. The life of asphalt
runways typically lasts between 15 and 20 years, given proper design, construction,
and maintenance. The planning and management of runway pavements is a vital
operation in itself. Careful pavement maintenance management of properly planned
runways will result in many years of healthy use. Without proper management,
however, runway pavements can prematurely fail, resulting in the inability to safely
accommodate aircraft operations. Further details regarding pavement management are
discussed in Chap. 7 of this text.
Runway markings
There are three types of markings for runways: visual, non precision instrument, and
precision instrument. These marking types reflect the types of navigational aids
associated with assisting aircraft on approach to land on the runway. A visual runway
is intended solely for aircraft operations using visual approach procedures. A
nonprecision instrument runway is one having an instrument approach procedure
using air navigation facilities with only horizontal guidance for which a straight-in
nonprecision instrument approach procedure has been approved by the FAA. A
precision instrument runway is one having an instrument approach procedure using a
precision instrument landing system (e.g., ILS) or precision approach radar (PAR)
that provides both horizontal and vertical guidance to the runway.
Visual, nonprecision, and precision instrument runway markings include runway
designators and centerlines. Nonprecision instrument runways also include runway
threshold markings and aiming points (used be called fixed-distance markers) (Fig.)
Threshold markings are also found on visual runways intended to accommodate
international commercial operations. Aiming points are also found on visual runways
of at least 4,000 feet in length and are used by jet aircraft. Precision instrument
runways also include touchdown zone markers and side stripes (Fig. ). All runway
markings are painted in white.


Runway designators
Runway designators identify the name of the runway by the runway's orientation.
The runway number is the whole number nearest one-tenth the magnetic azimuth of
the centerline of the runway, measured clockwise from magnetic north. The letters
differentiate among left (L), right ®, or center © parallel runways, as applicable.

Runway centerlines
Runway centerlines identify the center of the runway and provide alignment guidance
during takeoff and landings. The centerline consists of a line of uniformly spaced
stripes and gaps.

Runway threshold markings

Runway threshold markings help identify the beginning of the runway that is
available for landing. In some instances, the landing threshold may be relocated
or displaced up the runway from the actual beginning of pavement. Runway threshold
markings come in two configurations. They either consist of eight longitudinal stripes
of uniform dimension disposed symmetrically about the runway centerline or the
number of stripes is related to the width of the runway. Table relates runway width to
the number of runway threshold marking stripes.

Sometimes construction, maintenance, or other activities require the threshold to be
relocated up the runway from the original threshold. This relocated threshold is
marked by a runway threshold bar. The runway threshold bar is a 10-foot-wide white-
painted stripe that extends across the width of the runway. The distance between the
beginning of the runway pavement and the relocated threshold is marked by yellow-
painted chevrons, which denote that the pavement is unusable for landing, takeoff, or
taxiing of aircraft. A displaced threshold is a threshold located at a point on the
runway other than the designated beginning of the runway. Displacement of the
runway threshold reduces the length of runway available for landings. The portion of
the runway behind a displaced threshold is available for landings and takeoffs in
either direction and landings from the opposite direction. A 10-foot-wide white
threshold bar is located across the width of the runway at the displaced threshold.
White arrows are located along the centerline in the area between the beginning of the
runway and the displaced threshold. White arrow heads are located across the width
of the runway just prior to the threshold bar (Fig. )

Runway aiming points

Runway aiming points serve as visual aiming points for a landing aircraft. These two
rectangular markings consist of a broad white stripe located on each side of the
runway centerline and approximately 1,000 feet (300 m) from the landing threshold,
that is, the beginning of the runway allowable for landing.
Runway touchdown zone markings
Runway touchdown zone markings identify the touchdown zone for landing
operations. They are coded to provide distance information in 500-foot (150 m)
increments for a distance of 2,500 feet from the threshold. These markings consist of
groups of one, two, and three rectangular bars, symmetrically arranged in pairs about
the runway centerline. For runways having touchdown zone markings at both ends,
those pairs of markings that extend to within 900 feet (270 m) of the midpoint
between the thresholds are eliminated. Runway side stripes delineate the edges of the
runway. They provide a visual contrast between the runway and the abutting terrain or
shoulders. Side stripes consist of continuous white stripes located on each side of the
runway. Runway shoulder stripes may also be used to supplement runway side stripes
to identify pavement areas contiguous to the runway sides that are not intended for
use by aircraft. Runway shoulder stripes are yellow stripes marked at a 45-degree
angle to the direction of the runway, upward in the direction of operation, from the
threshold to the midpoint of the runway (Fig. ).
Runway lighting
Runway lighting is extremely important for nighttime aircraft operations or in poor
visibility weather conditions. Runway lighting systems are placed into three
categories, approach lighting systems, visual glideslope indicators, runway end
identifiers, runway edge light systems, and in-runway lighting systems.

As their names imply, approach lighting systems aid aircraft in properly aligning with
the runway on approach to landing, and in-runway lighting systems aid aircraft in
landing and takeoff operations on and in the immediate vicinity of the runway (Fig. 4-
Approach lighting systems Approach lighting systems (ALS) provide the basic means
for aircraft to identify runways when operating in poor weather conditions and when
operating under IFR. ALS are a configuration of signal lights starting at the landing
threshold and extending back from the runway, called the approach area, a distance of
2,400 to 3,000 feet for precision instrument runways and 1,400 to 1,500 feet for no
precision instrument runways. Some systems include sequenced flashing lights which
appear to the pilot as a ball of light traveling toward the runway at high speed.
ALSF-1: Approach light system 2,400 feet in length with sequenced flashing lights in
ILS Cat-I configuration (see further in this section for a full description of ILS).

Airports and airport systems:
Whether privately owned or part of a public system, there are fundamental
characteristics of the administrative and organizational structure of an airport. The
number of people employed at a given airport can range from as few as one, at the
smallest of general aviation facilities, to as many as 50,000 at the world's largest
airport authorities.
Those airports that employ fewer numbers of people expect these people to accept a
wider range of responsibilities. For example, an airport management employee at a
small airport might be responsible for maintaining the airfield, managing finances,
and maintaining good relations with the local public. At the larger airports, employees
are typically given very specific responsibilities for a particular segment of airport
Airport ownership and operation
Public airports in the United States are owned and operated under a variety of
organizational and jurisdictional arrangements. Usually, ownership and operation
coincide: commercial airports might be owned and operated by a city, county, or
state; by the federal government; or by more than one jurisdiction (a city and a
county). In some cases, a commercial airport is owned by one or more of these
governmental entities but operated by a separate public body, such as an airport
authority specifically created for the purpose of managing the airport. Regardless of
ownership, legal responsibility for day-to-day operation and administration can be
vested in any of five kinds of governmental or public entities: a municipal or county
government, a multipurpose port authority, an airport authority, a state government, or
the federal government. A typical municipally operated airport is city owned and
run as a department of the city, with policy direction by the city council and, in some
cases, by a separate airport commission or advisory board. County-run airports are
similarly organized. Under this type of public operation, airport policy decisions are
generally made in the broader context of city or county public investment needs,
budgetary constraints, and development goals.
Some commercial airports in the United States are run by multipurpose port
Port authorities are legally chartered institutions with the status of public corporations
that operate a variety of publicly owned facilities, such as harbors, airports, toll roads,
and bridges. In managing the properties under their jurisdiction, port authorities have
extensive independence from the state and local governments. Their financial
independence rests largely on the power to issue their own debt, in the form of
revenue bonds, and on the breadth of their revenue bases, which might include fees
and charges from.
Airport ownership and operation
Marine terminals and airports as well as proceeds (bridge or tunnel tolls) from other
port authority properties. In addition, some port authorities have the power to tax
within the port district, although it is rarely exercised. Another type of arrangement is
the single-purpose airport authority. Similar in structure and in legal charter to port
authorities, these single-purpose authorities also have considerable independence
from the state or local governments, which often retain ownership of the airport or
airports operated by the authority. Like multipurpose port authorities, airport
authorities have the power to issue their own debt for financing capital development,
and in a few cases, the power to tax. Compared to port authorities, however, they
must rely on a much narrower base of revenues to run a financially self-sustaining
enterprise. Since the early 1950s, there has been a gradual transition from city- and
county-controlled airports to the independent single or multipurpose authorities. The
predominant form is still municipally owned and operated, particularly the smaller
commercial and GA airports; however, there are reasons for this transition:
Many airport market or service areas have outgrown the political jurisdiction
whose responsibility the airport entails. In some cases there is considerable, actual
or potential, tax liability to a rather limited area. In these cases the creation of an
authority to spread the potential or actual tax support for the airport might be
recommended. By spreading the tax base of support for the airport, more equitable
treatment of the individual taxpayer can result and the taxpayers supporting the
airport in most cases more nearly match the actual users of the facility.
Another advantage of authority control of an airport is that such an organization
allows the board to concentrate and specialize on airport matters.
Aviation authorities can also provide efficiency of operation and economies of
scale when several political jurisdictions, each with separate airport
responsibilities, choose to combine these under one board. This has been done
quite successfully in many areas of the country. Normally, the staff required by
an airport authority will be quite small compared to the personnel requirements of
a city or county government. This factor generally results in better coordination
with the airport management team.
Authorities can also provide on-scene decision makers, rates, and charges
unclouded by off-airport costs, and with less political impact on the business of
running the airport.
State-operated airports are typically managed by the state's department of
transportation. Either general obligation or revenue bonding might be used to raise
investment capital, and state taxes on aviation fuel might be applied to capital
improvement projects.
Although several states run their own commercial airports, only a handful of large-
and medium-size commercial airports are operated in this way, primarily in Alaska,
Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, and Rhode Island. The federal government owns and
operates the airport at Pomona (Atlantic City), New Jersey, which is part of the FAA
Technical Center. The FAA manages this facility with capital development financed
through congressional appropriations.
Several airports in the United States are managed by private companies generally
operating under a fixed-fee contract with a local government. By contrast, many U.S.
airports are managed by the local government, but contract out a significant number
of airport functions to private contractors, including janitorial, security, maintenance,
and concession management. Neither of these situations is particularly controversial,
nor are the economics of these airports unusual.
Airport privatization
Privatization refers to shifting governmental functions and responsibilities, in whole
or in part, to the private sector. The most extensive privatizations involve the sale or
lease of public assets.
Airport privatization, in particular, typically involves the lease of airport property
and/or facilities to a private company to build, operate, and/or manage commercial
services offered at the airport. No commercial airport property in the United States
has been completely sold to a private entity. Long-term operating leases are the
standard privatization contract. Only in the United Kingdom have outright sales of
airport property been completed.
Although no U.S. commercial airport has been sold to a private entity, publicly owned
airports have extensive private sector involvement. Most services now performed at
large commercial airports, such as airline ticketing, baggage handling, cleaning, retail
concessions, and ground transportation, are provided by private firms. Some estimates
indicate as many as 90 percent of the people working at the nation's largest airports
are employed by private firms. The remaining 10 percent of the employees are local
and state government personnel performing administrative or public safety duties;
federal employees, such as FAA air traffic controllers and TSA security screeners; or
other public employees, primarily military personnel. Airports have been increasingly
dependent on the private sector to provide services as a way to reduce costs and
improve the quality and the range of services offered.
In the mid-1990s some public administrations contracted with private firms to manage
their airports; most notably, in 1995, the Indianapolis Airport Authority contracted
with a private firm, the British Airports Authority, to manage its system of airports,
including the Indianapolis International Airport. Since 1995, several, but not many,
airports have been contracted out for full private management. More commonly a
portion of the airport, such as an airport terminal, concessions, parking, and so forth,
has been subcontracted for management by private sector firms.
Airports are, however, relying more on private financing for capital development.
Airports have sought to diversify their sources of capital development funding,
including the amount of private sector financing. Traditionally, airports have relied on
the airlines and federal grants to finance their operations and development. However,
in recent years, airports, especially the larger ones, have sought to decrease their
reliance on airlines while increasing revenue from other sources. No airline revenue,
such as concession receipts, now account for more than 50 percent of the total
revenue larger airports receive. In most other countries, the national government
owns and operates airports. However, a growing number of countries, including
Canada and Australia, have been exploring ways to more extensively involve the
private sector as a way to provide capital for development and improve efficiency.
These privatization activities range from contracting out services and infrastructure
development, in a role similar to private sector activities at U.S. airports, to the sale or
lease of nationally owned airports.
Several factors have motivated interest in expanding the role of the private sector at
commercial airports in the United States. First, privatization advocates believe that
private firms would provide additional capital for development. Second, proponents
believe that privatized airports would be more profitable because the private sector
would operate them more efficiently. Last, advocates believe that privatization would
financially benefit all levels of government by reducing demand on public funds and
increasing the tax base. In 1997, the FAA implemented the Pilot Program on Private
Ownership of Airports, under which five public-use airports would be operated under
a private management group. The airports selected to participate in the program
include Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, New York; Brown Field in San
Diego, California; Rafael Hernandez Airport in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; New Orleans
Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Louisiana; and Niagara Falls International Airport
in Niagara Falls, New York. The program has been met with limited success, with
only Stewart International Airport fully completing the privatization process.
The enthusiasm toward full airport privatization has appeared to wane since the late
1990s, as the overall economy of the United States has declined. However, the
concepts that drive private enterprises toward competitive and efficient operations is
becoming embraced by publicly owned and managed airports. As a result, more
efficient organizational structures and management responsibilities have resulted in
more streamlined and efficient airport management organizational structures.
The airport organization chart
An organization chart shows the formal authority relationships between superiors
and subordinates at various levels, as well as the formal channels of communication
within the organization. It provides a framework within which the management
functions can be carried out. The chart aids employees to perceive more clearly their
positions in the organization in relation to others and how and where managers and
workers fit into the overall organizational structure.
Airport management organization charts range from the very simple to the very
complex, depending primarily on the size, ownership, and management structure of
the airport.
The organization chart is a static model of an airport's management structure; that is,
it shows how the airport is organized at a given point in time. This is a major
limitation of the chart, because airports operate in a dynamic environment and thus
must continually adapt to changing conditions.
Job descriptions
The following is a brief job description for each position shown in Fig.

The airport master plan
Some state agencies are involved in master planning activities for local airports,
especially rural or small community airports that do not have the staff to carry out
master planning on their own. State agencies might provide technical assistance or
actually develop local master plans. Some states also participate in airport planning
for major metropolitan areas, although most leave this responsibility with the local
airport authority or a regional body. In recent years, state participation in planning at
the larger airports has shown some increase, a trend that might be bolstered by current
federal policy that earmarks a share of annual trust fund outlays for state aviation
The airport master plan
At the local level, the centerpiece of airport planning is the airport master plan, a
document that charts the proposed evolution of the airport to meet future needs. The
magnitude and sophistication of the master planning effort depends on the size of the
airport. At the largest commercial service airports, master planning is a formal and
complex process that has evolved to coordinate large construction projects (or perhaps
several such projects simultaneously) that can be carried out over a period of up to 20
years. At smaller airports, master planning might be the responsibility of a few staff
members with other responsibilities, who depend on outside consultants for expertise
and support. At very small airports, where capital improvements are minimal or are
made infrequently, the master plan might be a very simple document, perhaps
prepared locally but usually with the help of consultants.
An airport master plan presents the planner's conception of the ultimate development
of a specific airport. It effectively presents the research and logic from which the plan
was evolved and artfully displays the plan in a graphic and written report. Master
plans are applied to the modernization and expansion of existing airports and to the
construction of new airports, regardless of their size or functional role.
The typical airport master plan has a planning horizon of 20 years. The Federal
Aviation Administration notes that for a master plan to be considered valid it must be
updated every 20 years or when changes in the airport or surrounding environment
occur, or when moderate and major construction may require federal funding.
Elements of the master plan
Although there is considerable variation in the content of the airport master plan and
how it is used, its basic products are a description of the desired future configuration
of the airport, a description of the steps needed to achieve it, and a financial plan to
fund development. An airport master plan typically consists of the following
elements: inventory, activity forecasts, demand/capacity analysis, facilities
requirements, design alternatives, and financial plans. These elements provide a
recipe for the airport in its effort to meet the demands of its users and the surrounding
community over the airport's master plan. In addition, some master plans include
environmental and economic assessments of plans associated with the future plans for
the airport.
The first step in the preparation of an airport master plan for an individual airport is
the collection of all types of data pertaining to the area that the airport is to serve. This
includes an inventory of existing airport facilities, area planning efforts that might
affect the master plan, and historical information related to their development. This
review will provide essential background information for the master plan report. It
will also provide basic information for the development of forecasts and facility
Historical review of airports and facilities
The historical review traces the development of a community's airport facilities and
the air traffic that they have served. A description of the airport and the date of
construction or major expansion are included. Airport ownership is also mentioned.
The scope of the data collection is generally limited to the area that the master plan
airport will serve and to national trends that will affect that area. The planner must
carefully research and study data that are available from current sources such as state,
regional, and national airport system plans and other local aeronautical studies.
Existing airports and their configurations are shown on a base map. Included are all
air carrier, general aviation, and military airports in the area.
Airspace structure and NAVAIDs
It is necessary to identify how the airspace is used in the vicinity of each airport and
throughout the area, all air navigation aids and aviation communication facilities
serving the area, and natural or man-made obstructions or structures that affect the use
of the airspace. The airway and jet-route structures have a significant effect on the
utility of existing and future airport locations. The dimensions and configurations of
the control zones and transition areas are noted. These segments of controlled airspace
are designed to accommodate only specific instrument flight rules (IFR) requirements
such as instrument approach, departure, holding, and transition flight maneuvers; thus
the inventory will show the current use of the area's IFR airspace and the balance of
the airspace available for future use. Additional maps or overlays showing the
existing airspace structure are included in the inventory. Later in the planning process,
proposed expansion of new airports can be related to the existing airspace structure
and compatibility verified, or adjustments to the proposed development can be made.
Airport-related land use
An inventory of land uses in the vicinity of each existing airport is necessary so that
later in the planning process a determination can be made on the feasibility of
expansion and whether an expanded airport will be compatible with the surrounding
area and vice versa. Current plans that show existing and planned land uses,
highways, utilities, schools, hospitals, and so forth, are obtained from area wide
agencies and transportation planning agencies that have jurisdiction over the area the
master plan airport is to serve. Current land use is also displayed on a map to assist in
later steps of the planning process. Also, if feasible, an estimate of the land values is
made. Normally when considering airport-related land use, a survey will be conducted
of all ground travel entering or leaving the airport, including the air travelers,
employees, suppliers, and visitors. Information might also be collected on parking and
commodity movements. Sufficient data are obtained to establish the travel patterns of
airport-oriented trips and to develop relationships that will be used to determine future
travel patterns. Copies of zoning laws, building codes, and other regulations and
ordinances that might be applicable to the development of an airport master plan are
obtained. All of these have an effect on airport related land use.
Aeronautical activity
The principal determinant of future airport system requirements is the amount of
aeronautical activity that will be generated in the metropolitan area. A record of
current aviation statistics as well as a consideration of historical airport traffic data for
such elements as passenger and air cargo traffic, aircraft movements, and aircraft mix
is necessary to forecast aeronautical activity. The assessment of these aviation
statistics, along with consideration of the socioeconomic attributes for the area, forms
the basis for forecasts of aeronautical activity for the metropolitan area. The forecasts
of aeronautical activity, in turn, form the basis for facilities planning for future
requirements. Aeronautical statistical data include federal, state, and regional statistics
as they relate to the master plan airport and the collection of as many local statistics as
can be obtained. At the local level, surveys and questionnaires are used to supplement
data on operations, frequency, and hours of use of aircraft and origins and destinations
of travelers. The primary aviation statistics needed are taken up in this chapter's
forecasting section.
Socioeconomic factors
The collection and analysis of socioeconomic data for a metropolitan area helps
answer the basic questions regarding the type, volume, and concentration centers of
future aviation activity in the region. Accordingly, the determinants (what causes a
market to be the size it is) of a market for airports are established. What industries
need air transportation? Do they have a need for better air transportation facilities?
How many people will be available in the future who possesses the income to make
use of air service? Will the people and industries having the wherewithal to utilize the
airport be there? Because people are associated with a multitude of income-earning
and income-spending activities at any particular location from and to which they
travel, transportation facilities are needed between those points where the future travel
is expected to occur. The primary forces that measure and help determine economic
change and a general rationale for their use in determining air transportation demand
The size and structure of the area's population and its potential growth rate are basic
factors in creating demand for air transportation services. The existing population
along with its changing age and educational and occupational distributions can
provide a primary index of the potential size of the aviation market and resultant
airport employment over short-, medium-, and long-range forecast periods.
Demographic factors influence the level of airport traffic and its growth, both in terms
of incoming traffic from other states, regions, or cities, and traffic generated by the
local or regional populations concerned.
Disposable personal income per capita this economic factor refers to the purchasing
power available to residents in any one period of time, which is a good indicator of
average living standards and financial ability to travel. High levels of average
personal disposable income provide a strong basis for higher levels of consumer
spending, particularly on air travel.
Economic activity and status of industries this factor refers to situations within the
area the airport serves that generate activity in business aviation and air freight traffic.
A community's population, size, and economic character affect its air traffic­
generating potential. Manufacturing and service industries tend to generate greater air
transport activity than primary and resource industries, such as mining. Much will
depend on established and potential patterns of internal and external trade. In addition,
other aviation activities such as agricultural and instructional flying and aircraft sales
are included in this factor.
Geographic factors
The geographic distribution and distances between populations and commerce within
the area that the airport serves have a direct bearing on the type of transportation
services required. The physical characteristics of the land and climatic differences are
also important factors. In some cases, alternative modes of transportation might not be
available or economically feasible. Furthermore, physical and climatic attractions
assist in determining focal points for vacation traffic and tourism and help in
establishing the demand for air services that they generate. Competitive position The
demand for air service also depends on its present and future ability to compete with
alternative modes of transportation. Also, technological advances in aircraft design
and in other transportation modes, as well as industrial and marketing processes, can
create transportation demands that have not previously existed.
Political factors
The granting of new traffic rights and routes for international air service will
influence the volume of traffic at an airport. Demand for air transportation also
depends on government actions such as the imposition of taxes and other fees. In
addition, government might support other modes of transportation, which might result
in changes in demand for air transportation services.
Community values
A very important factor in the airport master planning process is the determination of
the attitude of the community toward airport development.
Poor airport-community relations, unless they are changed, could influence the ability
to implement an airport master plan. On the other hand, recognition by the community
of the need for progress in the development of air transportation can have a positive
influence in minimizing complaints; thus, it is necessary to place airport development
in its proper perspective relative to community values.
The airport layout plan
Even though a narrative description of the airport environment is a necessary part of
an airport master plan inventory, a graphical representation is also required. This
graphical representation is known as the airport layout plan, or ALP. The airport
layout plan is a graphic presentation to scale of existing and proposed airport facilities
and land uses, their locations, and the pertinent clearance and dimensional
information required to show conformance with applicable standards. It shows the
airport location, clear zones, approach areas, and other environmental features that
might influence airport usage and expansion capabilities.
The airport layout plan also identifies facilities that are no longer needed and
describes a plan for their removal or phase-out. Some areas might be leased, sold,
or otherwise used for commercial and industrial purposes. The plan is always updated
with any changes in property lines; airfield configuration involving runways,
taxiways, and aircraft parking apron size and location; buildings; auto parking; cargo
areas; navigational aids; obstructions; and entrance roads. The airport layout plan
drawing includes the following items: the airport layout, location map, vicinity map,
basic data table, and wind information. The airport layout is the main portion of the
drawing. It depicts the existing and ultimate airport development and land uses drawn
to scale and includes as a minimum the following information:
Prominent airport facilities such as runways, taxiways, aprons, blast pads,
extended runway safety areas, buildings, NAVAIDs, parking areas, roads,
lighting, runway marking, pipelines, fences, major drainage facilities, segmented
circle, wind indicators, and beacons
Prominent natural and man-made features such as trees, streams, ponds, rock
outcrops, ditches, railroads, power lines, and towers
Outline of revenue-producing non-aviation-related property, surplus or otherwise,
with current status and use specified
Areas reserved for existing and future aviation development and services such as
for general aviation fixed-base operations, heliports, cargo facilities, airport
maintenance, and so forth
Areas reserved for no aviation development, such as industrial areas, motels, and
so forth Existing topographic contours
Fueling facilities and tie down areas
Facilities that are to be phased out
Airport boundaries and areas owned or controlled by the sponsor, including
navigation easements
Airport reference point with latitude and longitude given on the basis of the U.S.
Geological Survey grid system
Elevation of runway ends, high and low points, and runway intersections
True azimuth of runways (measured from true north)
North point--true and magnetic
Pertinent dimensional data--runway and taxiway widths and runway lengths,
taxiway-runway-apron clearances, apron dimensions, building clearance lines,
clear zones, and parallel runway separation The location map shown in the lower-
left-hand side of the airport layout plan drawing is drawn to scale and depicts the
airport, cities, railroads, major highways, and roads within 25 to 50 miles of the
The vicinity map shown in the upper-left-hand side of the airport layout plan drawing
shows the relationship of the airport to the city or cities, nearby airports, roads,
railroads, and built-up areas shown in Fig.
The basic data table contains the following information on existing and ultimate
conditions where applicable:
Airport elevation (highest point of the landing areas)
Runway identifications
Percent effective runway gradient for each existing and proposed runway
Instrument landing system (ILS) runway when designated, dominant runway
otherwise, existing and proposed
Normal or mean maximum daily temperature of the hottest month
Pavement strength of each runway in gross weight and type of main gear (single,
dual, and dual tandem) as appropriate
Plan for obstruction removal, relocation of facilities, and so forth In addition, a
wind rose (described in detail later in this chapter) is always included in the
airport layout plan drawing with the runway orientation superimposed. Crosswind
coverage and the source and period of data are also given. Wind information is
given in terms of all-weather conditions, supplemented by IFR weather conditions
where IFR operations are expected.


Airport layout plans also include to scale diagrams of all FAR Part 77 surfaces (as
described in Chap. 4 of this text), noise impacted areas, and detailed-to scale drawings
of major facilities at the airport, including terminal buildings, aircraft and automobile
parking facilities, ground access roads, and public transit infrastructure, such as rail
systems (Fig. 11-2).
Airport master plans are developed on the basis of forecasts. From forecasts, the
relationships between demand and the capacity of an airport's various facilities can be
established and airport requirements can be determined. Short-, intermediate-, and
long-range (approximately 5-, 10-, and 20-year) forecasts are made to enable the
planner to establish a schedule of development for improvements proposed in the
master plan. Two types of forecasting methods are available to assist planners in the
decision-making process: qualitative and quantitative.
Economic evaluation
Although the primary objective of the airport master plan is to develop a design
concept for the entire airport, it is essential to test the economic feasibility of the plan
from the standpoints of airport operation and individual facilities and services.
Economic feasibility will depend on whether the users of the airport improvements
programmed under the plan can produce the revenues (as might be supplemented by
federal, state, or local subsidies) required to cover annual cost for administration,
operation, and maintenance. This must be determined for each stage of development
scheduled in the master plan. This consideration includes the cost of capital to be
employed in financing the improvement, the annual operating costs of facilities, and
prospective annual revenues. This preliminary cost estimate for each of the proposed
improvements provides the basic capital investment information needed for
evaluating the feasibility of the various facilities. Estimated construction costs are
adjusted to include allowance for architect and engineering fees for preparation of
detailed plans and specifications, overhead for construction administration, allowance
for contingencies, and allowance for interest expenses during construction. Estimated
costs of land acquisitions as well as the costs of easements required to protect
approach and departure areas are included. If the master plan provides for the
expansion of an existing airport, the cost of the existing capital investment might be
required to be added to the new capital costs. The airport layout plan also indicates the
stage development of the proposed facilities. The drawings are normally written with
appropriate legends to indicate staging shown on the plan, either on single or separate
sheets. Charts that show the schedule of development for various items of the master
plan are developed for inclusion in the master plan report.
Break-even need
The annual amount that is required to cover cost of capital investment and costs of
administration, operation, and maintenance can be called the breakeven need. The
revenues required to produce the break-even need are derived from user charges, lease
rentals, and concession revenues produced by the airport as a whole. In order to make
sure that the individual components of the airport are generating a proper share of the
required annual revenues, the airport can be divided into cost areas to allow allocation
of costs to such areas following generally accepted cost accounting principles.
Carrying charges on invested capital include depreciable and no depreciable
items.Nondepreciable investment items are those that have a permanent value even if
the airport site is converted to other uses. No depreciable investment items include the
cost of land acquisition, excavation and fill operations, and road relocations that
enhance the value of the airport site. The annual cost of capital invested in no
depreciable assets depends in the first instance on the source of capital used. If
revenue or general obligation bonds have been issued to acquire the asset, the total of
the principal and interest payments and required reserves or coverage payments called
for by the bonds is used. Assets acquired with airport operating surpluses of prior
years, general tax revenues, or gifts do not ordinarily impose a cash operating
requirement and the treatment of these investments will require a decision by the
operator based upon legal considerations and financial operating objectives of the
airport. Interest or depreciation charges are not required to be recovered on amounts
secured by the airport under the Airport and Airway Improvement Act of 1982 or
previous acts. Treatment of funds acquired under state grants-in-aid programs are
governed by the terms of the act involved.
The annual cost of capital invested in plant and equipment (as distinguished from
land) can be regarded as depreciable investment. The annual charge for depreciation
depends on the useful life of the asset and the source of capital used in acquiring the
asset. If payments of principal and interest on bonds issued to pay for the asset are
required over a shorter period than the useful life of the asset, this schedule would
govern and form the basis for depreciation charges unless other revenues are available
to service the debt. Depreciation charges for capital assets acquired with operating
surpluses of prior years, general tax revenues, or gifts do not ordinarily impose a cash
operating requirement on the operator, and the treatment of this investment will
require a policy decision by the operator. Interest or depreciation charges are not
required to be recovered on amounts secured under the Airport and Airway
Improvement Act of 1982 or previous acts. Funds obtained under state grants-in-aid
are governed by the terms of the act involved.
Estimated expenses for administration, operation, and maintenance are developed for
each airport cost area on the basis of unit costs for direct expenses. For no revenue
areas, these expenses are forecasted separately and distributed to various airport
operations. For utility expenses, the net amount expected to be owed from the utility
purchase, after a sale of utility services, is forecast.
Potential airport revenue
The sum of the estimated annual carrying charges on invested capital and the
estimated average annual expenses of administration, operation, and maintenance
establish the break-even need for each revenue-producing facility and for the airport
as a whole. The next step in establishing economic feasibility is to determine if
sufficient revenues (that might be supplemented by federal, state, and local subsidies)
can be expected at the airport to cover the breakeven needs; therefore, forecasts are
prepared for revenue-producing areas. These areas include the landing area, aircraft
aprons and parking areas, airline terminal buildings, public parking areas, cargo
buildings, aviation fuel, hangars, commercial facilities, and other usable areas.
Landing area This area includes runways and related taxiways and circulation
taxiways. Flight fee revenue determination is distributed among scheduled airlines,
other air carrier users, and general aviation. Flight fee amounts should provide
sufficient revenues to cover the landing area break-even need. Aircraft aprons and
parking areas Revenues to obtain the break-even need for airline terminal aprons and
cargo aprons are assigned to the scheduled airlines. Those for general aviation ramps
are assigned to private aircraft. Apron and parking area fees should provide sufficient
revenues to cover the break-even needs for specific aircraft aprons and parking areas.
Airline terminal buildings Revenues for concessionaires and ground transportation
services are usually based on a percentage of gross income with a fixed-rate minimum
for each type of service. Space for scheduled airlines and other users is paid for on a
fixed-rental basis. In order to establish rental rates, forecasts of potential revenue from
concessions and ground transportation must be established. Rental rates are based on
the break-even need of the terminal building after giving credit for forecasted
revenues from concessions and ground transportation.
Public parking areas Public parking is usually operated on a concessionaire basis
with revenues obtained from rentals based on a percentage of gross income with a
fixed-rate minimum. The revenue amount required to meet break-even needs will
depend on whether parking facilities are constructed by the airport owner or under
provisions of the concessionaire contract. These revenues apply to public parking for
both airline and general aviation terminals. Revenues in excess of the break-even need
for public parking are allocated to the break-even need for the airport as a whole.
Cargo buildings Rentals are usually charged on a rate per square foot and cover
investments in employee parking and truck unloading docks, as well as in building
space. Rates are established to meet break-even needs.
Aviation fuel Fees charged to aviation fuel handling concessionaires are established
to cover the costs of fuel storage areas and associated pumping, piping,and hydrant
Hangars Rentals are usually based on a rate per square foot and cover investments in
associated aircraft apron space and hangar-related employee parking. Hangar office
space is charged on a similar basis and covers office related employee parking.
Commercial facilities Airport office buildings, industrial facilities, and hotels are
usually operated on a lessee-management basis with revenues obtained from rentals
on a square foot basis. The facilities are often financed by private capital. Revenues in
excess of the break-even need are allocated to the breakeven need of the airport as a
Other usable areas Various uses of ground space for activities such as gasoline
stations, service facilities for rental car operators, and bus and limousine operators
usually obtain revenues on a flat-rate basis. Those facilities are often financed by
private capital. Revenues in excess of the break-even need are allocated to the break-
even need of the airport as a whole.
Final economic evaluation
After analysis of the break-even needs for individual components of the master plan
has been made, economic feasibility is analyzed on an overall basis. The goal of
overall analysis is to determine if revenues will equal or exceed the break-even need.
This determination requires an evaluation of the scope and phasing of the plan itself in
terms of the users' requirements and their ability to make the financial commitment
necessary to support the costs of the program. If this review indicates that revenues
will be sufficient, revisions in the scheduling or scope of proposed master plan
developments might have to be made, or recovery revenue rates for airport cost areas
might require adjustment. These factors are adjusted until the feasibility of the master
plan is established; this is to say, airport revenues (as might be supplemented by
federal, state, or local subsidies) will match capital investment throughout the master
plan forecast period. When the economic feasibility of improvements proposed in the
master plan has been established, capital budget and a program for financing those
improvements is developed.


We may expect substantial changes in the years ahead in terms of the level of traffic,
its distribution across the country and business sectors, the physical configuration of
airports and their management and way of doing business. No one can claim to
predict these accurately, as the final outcomes will depend on many unknowable
contingencies. Planning for the future should thus stress flexibility. The task of airport
planners will be to enable the possible futures without making unnecessary, premature
commitments to particular structures. A modular, flexible approach to airport systems
planning and design is key.


Airport Master Planning and Management-Alexander T.Wells.Ed.D Seth Young .PhD

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