Contents


The revised Part 139 changes the existing airport certification process to incorporate all airports covered by the statute, including those serving scheduled operations of smaller air carrier aircraft and those airports that serve a mixture of air carrier operations.

Under this changed certification process, airports are reclassified into four new classes, based on the type of air carrier operations served:

  • Class I, II, and IV airports are those that currently hold Part 139 Airport Operating Certificates (AOCs).
  • Class III are those airports that will be newly certificated.

Some AOC holders that no longer serve scheduled operations of large air carrier aircraft also may be reclassified as a Class II, III, or IV airport, depending on the type of air carrier operations that they currently serve.

The following table indicates the types of air carrier operations that each Part 139 airport class can serve.

Type of Air Carrier Operation Class I Class II Class III Class IV
Scheduled Large Air Carrier Aircraft (30+ seats) X      
Unscheduled Large Air Carrier Aircraft (30+ seats) X X   X
Scheduled Small Air Carrier Aircraft (10-30 seats) X X X  

Airport operators do not need a Part 139 AOC to serve air carrier operations not described in the table. Further, at airports certificated under Part 139, a certificate holder may not have to comply with some Part 139 requirements during air carrier operations not covered by Part 139.

For additional guidance on complying with Part 139 requirements during air carrier operations not covered by the Regulation, airport operators should contact their FAA Regional Airports Office.


Class I Airports

Airports serving all types of scheduled operations of air carrier aircraft designed for at least 31 passenger seats (large air carrier aircraft) and any other type of air carrier operations are Class I airports. These airports currently hold an AOC and may serve any air carrier operations covered under Part 139. Accordingly, the operators of these airports must comply with all Part 139 requirements.

The following table compares previous Part 139 operational and safety requirements with those now required of Class I airports under the revised Part 139. These Part 139 operational requirements are in addition to modifications made to the airport certification process and other administrative changes.

  Previous Part 139 Requirements Revised Part 139 Requirements
1. Personnel provisions (§139.303) A recordkeeping system and new personnel training standards and clarification of use of a designee to comply with Part 139
2. Paved and unpaved surfaces (§139.305 and .307) Clarification of requirement to repair pavement cracks
3. Safety areas (§139.309) Clarification of safety area definition (see §139.3)
4. Marking, lighting and signs (§139.311) Clarification of requirement to mark pavement edges and new requirement for sign plan (see §139.203(b)(13))
5. Snow and ice control plan (§139.313) Clarification of requirement for determining need for plan and positioning of snow off movement areas
6. ARFF (§139.315, .317 and .319) New personnel training, fire extinguishing agent, and HAZMAT response standards; elimination of older ARFF vehicle exception; and clarification of Index criteria. Also, extends ARFF coverage to scheduled operations of small air carrier aircraft.
7. HAZMAT handling/storage (§139.321) Standards for air carrier fueling operations, and additional fuel fire safety and personnel training standards
8. Traffic/wind indicators (§139.323) New supplemental wind cone/segmented circle standards
9. Airport emergency plan (§139.325) New requirement to plan for fuel storage fires, HAZMAT and security incidents, alarm systems and water rescue situations
10. Self-inspections (§139.327) New training requirements for inspection personnel
11. Ground vehicle operations (§139.329) New training requirements for pedestrians and ground vehicles
12. Obstructions (§139.331) Unchanged
13. NAVAIDS (§139.333) Unchanged
14. Public protection (§139.335) Unchanged
15. Wildlife hazard management (§139.337) Clarification of wildlife hazards requiring action and new hazard assessment and management plan standards
16. Airport condition reporting (§139.339) New notification standard
17. Construction/unserviceable areas (§139.341) Unchanged

Class II Airports

Airports that currently hold a Limited AOC (or airports that have maintained an AOC after loss of scheduled large air carrier aircraft service) are either Class II airports or Class IV airports. Class II airports are those airports that serve scheduled operations of small air carrier aircraft and unscheduled operations of large air carrier aircraft. Class II airports are not permitted to serve scheduled large air carrier operations.

Under the revised Part 139, Class II airports are required to comply with more operational and safety requirements than were required of Limited AOC holders. These new requirements are in addition to modifications made to the airport certification process and other administrative changes.

The following table compares previous Part 139 operational and safety requirements with those now required of Class II airports under the revised Part 139.

  Previous Part 139 Requirements Revised Part 139 Requirements
1. Personnel provisions (§139.303) A recordkeeping system and new personnel training standards and clarification of use of a designee to comply with Part 139
2. Paved and unpaved surfaces (§139.305 and .307) Clarification of requirement to repair pavement cracks
3. Safety areas (§139.309) Clarification of safety area definition (see §139.3)
4. Marking, lighting and signs (§139.311) Clarification of requirement to mark pavement edges and new requirement for sign plan (see §139.203(b)(13))
5. New requirement for snow and ice control plan (per §139.313)
6. ARFF (negotiated standard) New personnel training, fire extinguishing agent, and HAZMAT response standards; elimination of older ARFF vehicle exception; and clarification of Index criteria. Also, extends ARFF coverage to scheduled operations of small air carrier aircraft (per §139.315, .317 and .319).
7. HAZMAT handling/storage (negotiated standard) Standards for air carrier fueling operations, and additional fuel fire safety and personnel training standards (per §139.321)
8. Traffic/wind indicators (negotiated standard) New supplemental wind cone/segmented circle standards (per §139.323)
9. New requirement for Airport Emergency Plan but no triennial exercise required (per §139.325)
10. Self-inspections (negotiated standard) New requirement to comply with self-inspection standard (per §139.327)
11. New requirements for pedestrians and ground vehicles (per §139.329)
12. New requirements to mark and light obstructions (per §139.331)
13. New requirements to protect NAVAIDS (per §139.333)
14. New requirements for public protection (per §139.335)
15. New requirements for wildlife hazard management (per §139.337)
16. Airport condition reporting (§139.339) New notification standard
17. New requirements to mark and light construction/unserviceable areas (per §139.341)

Class III Airports

Class III airports are those airports that serve only scheduled operations of small air carrier aircraft. As specified in the authorizing statute, airport certification requirements are not applicable to certain airports in the State of Alaska. For more information on the Alaskan airport exceptions, go to Alaskan Airports.

Under the revised Part 139, Class III airports must comply with the following Part 139 operational and safety requirements:

  Revised Part 139 Requirements
1. A recordkeeping system and new personnel training (per §139.303)
2. Paved and unpaved surfaces (§139.305 and .307)
3. Safety areas (per §139.309)
4. Marking, lighting and signs (per §139.311)
5. Snow and ice control plan (per §139.313)
6. Aircraft rescue and fire fighting response – alternative compliance measures allowed (per §139.315, .317 and .319)
7. HAZMAT handling/storage (per §139.321)
8. Traffic/wind indicators (per §139.323)
9. Airport Emergency Plan but no triennial exercise required (per §139.325)
10. Self-inspections (per §139.327)
11. Pedestrians and ground vehicles (per §139.329)
12. Obstructions (per §139.331)
13. NAVAIDS (per §139.333)
14. Public protection (per §139.335)
15. Wildlife hazard management (per §139.337)
16. Airport condition reporting (per §139.339)
17. Construction/unserviceable areas (per §139.341)

Class IV Airports

Airports that currently hold a Limited AOC (or airports that have maintained an AOC after loss of scheduled large air carrier aircraft service) are now either Class II or Class IV airports. Class IV airports are those airports that serve only unscheduled operations of large air carrier aircraft.

Air carrier operations are so infrequent at these airports that in the past, FAA only required them to comply with some Part 139 requirements. This continues to be the case, but new operational requirements have been added along with modifications to the airport certification process and other administrative changes.

The following table compares previous Part 139 operational and safety requirements with those now required of Class IV airports under the revised Part 139:

  Previous Part 139 Requirements Revised Part 139 Requirements
1. Personnel provisions (§139.303) A recordkeeping system and new personnel training standards and clarification of use of a designee to comply with Part 139
2. Paved and unpaved surfaces (§139.305 and .307) Clarification of requirement to repair pavement cracks
3. Safety areas (§139.309) Clarification of safety area definition (see §139.3)
4. Marking, lighting and signs (§139.311) Clarification of requirement to mark pavement edges and new requirement for sign plan (see §139.203(b)(13))
5. ARFF (negotiated standard) New personnel training, fire extinguishing agent, and HAZMAT response standards; elimination of older ARFF vehicle exception; and clarification of Index criteria. Also, extends ARFF coverage to scheduled operations of small air carrier aircraft (per §139.315, .317 and .319).
6. HAZMAT handling/storage (negotiated standard) Standards for air carrier fueling operations, and additional fuel fire safety and personnel training standards (per §139.321)
7. Traffic/wind indicators (negotiated standard) New supplemental wind cone/segmented circle standards (per §139.323)
8.   New requirement for Airport Emergency Plan but no triennial exercise required (per §139.325)
9. Self-inspections (negotiated standard) New training requirement to comply with self –inspection requirements (per §139.327)
10. Airport condition reporting (§139.339) New notification standard
11.   New requirements to mark and light obstructions (per §139.331)