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Compliance with 14 CFR Part 139 is mandatory for an operator of a U.S. airport that chooses to serve air carrier operations covered by the regulation. (An airport operator may be a public entity, such as a county or city, or a private organization or individual.)

Specifically, Part 139 applies to operators of airports in any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any territory or possession of the United States serving passenger-carrying operations of an air carrier certificated under 14 CFR Part 121 and 14 CFR Part 380 if

  • Scheduled passenger-carrying operations are conducted in aircraft designed for more than 9 passenger seats, and
  • Unscheduled passenger-carrying operations are conducted in aircraft designed for at least 31 passenger seats.

Airport operators can choose not to be certificated under Part 139. Part 139 is mandatory only if the airport operator chooses to serve the air carrier operations described above.

Airports Operated by the U.S. Government

The revised Part 139 is not applicable to airports operated by the U.S. Government, such as military bases operated by the Department of Defense. However, Part 139 requirements may apply at airports where the local municipality either leases a portion of the airfield from the U.S. Government (joint-use airport) or shares its facility with the U.S. Government (shared-use airport). For more information about such airports, go to Military/U.S. Government Operated Airports.

Alaskan Airports

The authorizing statute exempts Alaskan airports that serve air carrier aircraft with less than 30 seats from Federal airport certification requirements. To learn more about the certification of Alaskan airports, review Alaskan Airports.