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 August 2013, there were two active applications in the program.
- Luís Muñoz Marín International Airport (Final Application Approved February 2013)
- Hendry County Airglades Airport
Fact Sheet, Procedures, and Information
- Fact Sheet: What is the Airport Privatization Pilot Program? (updated 9/27/2013)
- Status of the Airport Privatization Pilot Program (August 2004)
- Airport Privatization Pilot Program: Application Procedures (September 16, 1997) (PDF)
- Considering and Evaluating Airport Privatizations, Airport Cooperative Research Program Report 66
|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|Brown Field Municipal Airport||San Diego, CA||Application withdrawn 2001|
|Chicago Midway International Airport||Chicago, IL||Preliminary application withdrawn September 9, 2013|
|Gwinnett County Briscoe Field||Lawrenceville, GA||Application withdrawn June 11, 2012|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|Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport||New Orleans, LA||Application withdrawn October 21, 2010|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.|
- Kevin Willis
Manager, Airport Compliance Division
- Marcia Adams