Congress established FAA's Airport Privatization Pilot Program to explore privatization as a means of generating access to various sources of private capital for airport improvement and development. Private companies may own, manage, lease and develop public airports. The 2012 Reauthorization Act increased the number of airports than can participate from five to 10. The Act authorized FAA to permit up to 10 public airport sponsors to sell or lease an airport with certain restrictions and to exempt the sponsor from certain federal requirements that could otherwise make privatization impractical. The airport owner or lease holder may be exempt from repayment of federal grants, return of property acquired with federal assistance, and the use of proceeds from the airport’s sale or lease to be used exclusively for airport purposes. Only one large hub airport can participate in the program; one of the airports must be a general aviation airport. The pilot program began in September 1997.

On September 9, 2013, the City of Chicago withdrew its preliminary application for Chicago Midway International Airport. There is now one slot available for a large hub airport.

As of October 2014, there was one active application in the program:

  • Hendry County Airglades Airport

Fact Sheet, Procedures, and Information

Airport Name Airport Location Application Status
Brown Field Municipal Airport San Diego, CA Application withdrawn 2001
Chicago Midway International Airport Chicago, IL Preliminary application withdrawn September 9, 2013
Gwinnett County Briscoe Field Lawrenceville, GA Application withdrawn June 11, 2012
Hendry County Airglades Airport Clewiston, FL Preliminary application approved October 18, 2010. Airport Sponsor is negotiating an agreement with a private operator.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport New Orleans, LA Application withdrawn October 21, 2010
Luís Muñoz Marín International Airport San Juan, Puerto Rico Preliminary application approved December 22, 2009. Airport Sponsor published a Request for Qualifications in July 2011. Sponsor selected Aerostar Airport Holdings on July 19, 2012, to become the private operator. The FAA held a public meeting on September 28, 2012, to hear comments on the final preliminary application. The FAA approved the final application to privatize Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on February 25, 2013.
New Orleans Lakefront Airport New Orleans, LA Application terminated 2008
Niagara Falls International Airport Niagara Falls, NY Application withdrawn 2001
Rafael Hernández Airport Aguidilla, PR Application withdrawn 2001
Stewart International Airport Newburgh, NY The first commercial service airport to participate in the FAA's privatization program from March 2000 to October 2007. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey now operates the airport.


Program Questions

  • Kevin Willis
    Manager, Airport Compliance Division
    (202) 267-8741

Media Inquiries