May 22, 2012
The FAA released the results of an 18-month study on general aviation airports last week that “highlights the pivotal role [they] play in our society, economy and the entire aviation system.”
Titled “General Aviation Airports: A National Asset,” the report divides the nearly 3,000 GA airports listed in the FAA’s National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) into four new categories: national, regional, local and basic. While there are more than 19,000 airports, heliports, seaplane bases and other landing facilities in the U.S., only 3,300 are included in NPIAS, and 2,952 of them are GA airports.
The report identifies 84 national airports, which serve national and global markets, have very high levels of activity and average about 200 based aircraft, including 30 jets. It lists 467 regional airports, which serve regional and national markets, have high levels of activity and average about 90 based aircraft, including three jets.
Local airports make up the bulk at 1,236. These fields are defined as serving local and regional markets, having moderate levels of activity and averaging about 33 based propeller-driven airplanes and no jets. And there are 668 basic airports, which often serve critical aeronautical functions within local and regional markets, have moderate to low levels of activity and average about 10 propeller-driven airplanes and no jets.
The study does not clearly establish a category for the remaining 497 general aviation airports, indicating that these require further study.