Aligning Community Expectations with Airport Roles

The roles airports play in their communities, in their region, and in the National Aviation System (NAS) are often misunderstood by the general public, elected officials, and business leaders. In recent years, that misunderstanding has, in many situations, contributed to a growing disconnect between the realities faced by airport management and community expectations for air service or other airport-related services and economic benefits. This disconnect has worsened with a decline in air service in many communities as evolving airline business models, high fuel costs, and less than robust economic growth have affected the industry. Recognizing these conditions, there is a growing need to provide guidance on how airports can communicate with the community and its leaders to "right-size" expectations about an airport's role and the type of commercial air service and general aviation activity they may reasonably expect. The objective of this research is to create a Handbook for airport professionals on how to communicate the airport's role within their community, their region, and the NAS. Because of diversity among airports, this Handbook should address the various roles at both commercial service airports (including passenger and cargo) and General Aviation (GA) airports. In particular, the Handbook should describe best practices for communicating the diverse roles of the airport to the general public as well as its elected officials and the business community, addressing the following: (a) The various roles airports play within the community and as part of the broader aviation system; (b) The most significant controversies that arise in the community as a result of confusion over the various roles played by airports as opposed to the roles played by airlines and other entities; (c) Market considerations, governance, and regulatory restrictions that limit an airport's role; (d) A user-friendly database that incorporates information and resources supporting the various components of the Handbook, facilitating the communication process; and (e) Strategies, tools, and techniques that airport professionals can use in communicating the above to various audiences including elected officials, business leaders, and the general public.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 03-31

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Goldstein, Lawrence

  • Performing Organizations:

    Mead & Hunt, Incorporated

    Lansing, MI  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Ward, Stephanie

  • Start Date: 20140616
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20160415
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37674

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01545078
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 03-31
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 25 2014 1:01AM