UPDATE PUBLISHED - October 25, 2021

This website was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this website are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors.

The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the program sponsors do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers’ names may appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the research.

This website, current as of the publication date, is not subject to updating. Recommendations for a full update of content may be submitted to CRP as a new research project.

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TRB Volunteers and Staff

UPDATE PUBLISHED - May 20, 2021

This website was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this website are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors.

The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the program sponsors do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers’ names may appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the research.

This website, current as of the publication date, is not subject to updating. Recommendations for a full update of content may be submitted to CRP as a new research project.

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UPDATE PUBLISHED - December 8, 2020

This website was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this website are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors.

The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the program sponsors do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers’ names may appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the research.

This website, current as of the publication date, is not subject to updating. Recommendations for a full update of content may be submitted to CRP as a new research project.

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PUBLISHED DATE - June 14, 2017

This website was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this website are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors.

The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the program sponsors do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers’ names may appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the research.

This website, current as of the publication date, is not subject to updating. Recommendations for a full update of content may be submitted to CRP as a new research project.

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COMPILATION OF DOT AND FAA AIRPORT LEGAL DETERMINATIONS AND OPINION LETTERS AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2020

U.S. airports that receive assistance from the federal government are required to comply with a number of obligations imposed by federal law. For example, airport sponsors that accept airport development grants-in-aid (pursuant to the Airport Improvement Program established by the Airport and Airway Improvement Act of 1982) contractually agree to comply with grant assurances governing, inter alia, the use of the airport, the manner in which the airport may be developed, the relationship between the airport sponsor and its aeronautical tenants and users, and the implementation of various federal programs. Likewise, airport sponsors that are the beneficiaries of land transferred pursuant to the Surplus Property Act are required to comply with the applicable deed covenants regarding the uses of such land. Finally, the owners of aeronautical facilities, including airports on which federal funds have been expended, are prohibited from granting certain exclusive rights.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are the primary federal agencies issuing guidance on federal airport compliance matters. This compilation covers the following case specific guidance available from DOT and FAA as of December 31, 2020:

  • Determinations and orders issued by FAA pursuant to 14 C.F.R. Part 16, Rules of Practice for Federally-Assisted Airport Enforcement Proceedings;
  • Available records of decision issued by FAA pursuant to 14 C.F.R. Part 13, (investigative proceedings generally initiated before December 16, 1996, concerning compliance matters involving Federally-assisted airports);
  • Substantive decisions and orders issued by DOT pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 47129 (establishing the reasonableness of airport fees imposed on air carriers); and
  • Opinion letters, memoranda, and related documents issued by the DOT General Counsel and FAA Chief Counsel (as of December 31, 2020).

The legal matters discussed in these documents include the reasonableness of contractual terms, leasing practices, airport rules and regulations, airport charges imposed on aeronautical users, including airlines, and the standards for determining airport sponsor compliance with other federal obligations. Some of the documents in the collection also discuss procedural matters applicable to particular agency proceedings.

This compilation contains 355 documents, including 299 agency determinations (35 Part 13 records of decision and 258 Part 16 determinations and orders) covering 235 distinct administrative cases brought against large and small airports throughout the U.S. The compilation also includes 51 DOT and FAA opinion letters, memoranda, and related documents.

In addition to copies of the original agency documents, this compilation also includes a digest of each agency document in the collection. Each digest is comprised of, inter alia, an abstract of the facts and holdings, the name of the affected airport, applicable previous and subsequent histories of the case, and key terms. The digests are indexed and searchable.

Neither the DOT, the FAA, nor TRB endorses the accuracy of the digests. The reader is advised to review the original agency documents.

DOT/FAA Determinations

DOT/FAA Opinion Letters and Related Documents