Organizational Roles at Your Airport

According to ACRP Report 44 A Guidebook for the Preservation of Public-Use Airports there are many individuals and organizations with roles at the airport. These groups range from users and tenants to government agencies and community organizations. Use the categories below to explore and identify the individuals and groups with a role at your airport. Once you use this section to identify the various individuals or organizations that may play a role in your airport, you can use the elements in Airport Advocates and Supporters, Identify Community Connections, and Telling the Story (Media Kit) to develop relationships with these groups/individuals and engage them in the effort to support and promote the airport through involvement and education.

  • Airport Owners
  • Airport owners are often referred to as Airport Sponsors so you may see “owner” or “sponsor” used. Learn about the ownership structure of your airport. Is it publicly or privately owned? If public, is the owner a designated public agency, county or municipality? Public agencies are specially created agencies that control and operate public infrastructure, often in the form of an “authority” or “commission”.

  • Airport Management
  • Remember, the airport is not always managed by the owner. Who manages your airport? Is it a single person, or a group of individuals that serve various management roles? Is management handled by the owner, or does another group manage the airport through lease agreements, FBO, or other means?

  • Airport Oversight Boards
  • Airport boards or commissions are not normally involved in daily airport operations. They are usually charged with high level oversight and policy decisions. The airport board may include specially elected or appointed members of an airport commission or authority, other elected officials such as county commissioners, or airport users. Does your airport have an oversight board system of governance? If so, what is the composition of the board and how did they come to be on the board? Are they advisory or are they vested with some level of authority to make decisions for the airport? Gather information about the make-up of the board, their duties and meeting schedules.

  • Airport Employees
  • Airport employees can often be seen as two groups: employees who work for the airport and those who work at the airport but are employed by another organization. Consider employees that are employed by the airport itself plus aviation or non-aviation related business located at the airport. Also consider employees who serve a safety and security role at the airport such as TSA agents, law enforcement, and firefighters. This is important because the general public does not make a distinction between these groups, they often consider them all “airport” employees.

  • FBOs
  • The role of the FBO is to provide direct aviation services to airport users. Does your airport have an FBO? If yes, who operates the FBO and what services do they provide? Consider services such as fuel, aircraft maintenance, and flight training. If you do not have an FBO, you may want to evaluate if you might consider having one at your airport and assess how that may occur.

  • Airport Users
  • The definition of an airport user is broad. Anyone who uses a service, business, or the aviation facilities of an airport can be considered a user. Who uses your airport and for what purpose? Be sure and use Determine the Aviation Roles of Your Airport and Determine the Non-Aviation Roles of Your Airport for more guidance on determining airport users. Knowing who your users are helps you demonstrate the true value of your airport.

  • Airport Tenants
  • Airport tenants are individuals or entities that lease airport property or space. This might be a business that leases an office or an aircraft owner who rents a hanger. Who are the tenants at your airport?

  • Government and Public Officials
  • There are government agencies and officials at local, regional, state or federal levels that might have a role at the airport. Is the airport directly used by government (e.g. military operations, U.S. Forest Service, State Police)? What is the relationship of the airport with government officials? Historically, what is the political relationship between the airport and government agencies or officials?

  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Chambers of Commerce advocate for local businesses by promoting the local city and region as a good place to do business. Infrastructure, such as airports, is one of the items a Chamber of Commerce promotes to businesses to encourage economic growth and employment. Do you have a local Chamber of Commerce or similar group that promotes your airport? If so, are they promoting your airport, and how do they promote it? Have you educated them about all the airport offers and the roles it serves? Consider activities and opportunities at the airport or aviation-related functions such as long runways for business jets.

  • Civic Groups
  • Civic groups are primarily involved with improving life within a community. Are there community groups that have a role at the airport? Do they use the facilities or promote the airport as an asset that improves quality of life or safety for the community? Have you identified these groups (e.g. Lions Club, Rotary Club)? Have you established relationships with them to promote and educate them about the airport?

  • Aviation Trade and Advocacy Organizations
  • Groups that promote aviation in the community such as AOPA, EAA, and NBAA can have a role at the airport. Is there a local chapter of the EAA? Has AOPA worked with the airport to increase its image and visibility in the community? Is there a local airport or pilot support group? Explore how these organizations interact at your airport and how you can leverage their support/activity.

  • Community Members
  • Explore the role of the community at your airport. What is the general awareness and experience in the community with your airport? Is there opposition to the airport, especially organized groups that oppose the airport? Identifying and knowing about these users is valuable to moving forward with promotion and education.