Part 139 Airport Certification_______________________

Author: Craig Williams, (703)575-2473


Whats at Issue?

The FAA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in June 2000 that proposed changes to airport certification regulations. These changes were prompted by changes to the FAA Reauthorization Act in 1996 authorizing the FAA to develop rules allowing them to expand the applicability of the regulation to aircraft serving more than nine passengers. 


Why Its Important

Because airport operations revolve around the regulations found within Part 139, any changes to the regulation may require significant changes to the airport certification manual and, in general, the way the airport operates. While this proposal was written with the intent to bring smaller air carrier airports into the regulatory fold, any changes within should be read and followed with caution by ALL airports.


 Important Provisions

   The development of four classifications of airports based on air service.

   General aviation airports without air service in the previous 24-months may lose their 139 operating certificate.

   All air carrier airports will have to maintain at least Index A capabilities for airport fire protection. (There are noticeable exceptions so dont panic without looking further into the rule).

   New training curriculums introduced for operations personnel think ARFF training for operations employees.

   Click Here for a Complete Listing of Changes

   New definitions.



The closing date for comments was on November 3, 2000. By law, the FAA was to issue the final rule on or before November 3, 2001, and provide Congress the opportunity to review any changes to the regulation. For a variety of reasons this deadline was not met.

The FAA's Office of Airports has now finished its work on the final rule. The rule has passed through FAA and DOT regulatory reviews. In January 2003, the Office of the Secretary of Transportation signed off on the rule and sent it to the Office of Management and Budget. At this time the best guess for the release of the Final Rule is later this summer.


Related Links

The proposed rule, AAAEs comments and a number of issues briefs are available on the Regulatory Affairs website at


Background Material and Comments Submitted to the Docket -- Select RIN from the pull-down menu and type in 2120-AG96. Then click search.