The FAA has announced that its study “General Aviation Airports: A National Asset,” which will help the FAA make planning decisions, has entered its second phase “to further define the role of GA airports.” Earlier work has resulted in the creation of four new categories for GA airports — national, regional, local, and basic. More than 2,950 airports are included in the study and the FAA has found that almost 500 of those do not fit into one of the defined categories. Yours could be on the list (PDF — scroll to page B93). The FAA has now committed to gathering additional information about the airports, in concert with state aeronautic divisions and airport sponsors, for further classification. The FAA says phase one has “revealed the many functions the majority of GA airports provide” and categorization of the airports will help the agency “make more consistent planning decisions.”
The FAA says its study has already shown that GA airports serve medical, law enforcement, search and rescue, relief, cargo and industrial functions. The existing categories reflect predominant activities at the airports and include factors like the number and type of aircraft based on a field, passenger boardings and the type of flights that take place. National category airports provide access to both national and international markets. Regional airports are defined as connecting communities to statewide and interstate markets. Local airports are access points for intrastate markets and basic airports serve to support general aviation activities and serve communities as an entry point to the national airport system.