Skip to page content

Airport Civil Rights Programs

The National External Civil Rights Programs at the airport includes the Disadvantage Business Enterprise/Airport Concessions Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE/ACDBE) program, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Limited English Proficiency (LEP), Environmental Justice (EJ), American with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and other civil rights policies and regulations affecting airports.

Title VI Airport Nondiscrimination Program

National Airport Policy and Compliance

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)/Section 504 – Airport Disability Compliance Program

The ADA/Section 504 — Airport Disability Compliance Program staff assists with upholding Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. This act provides comprehensive civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities in the areas of employment, public accommodations, State and local government services, and telecommunications.

ADA/504 COVID Q&A

Question: Must airport personnel remove protective facemasks to communicate through lip reading with airport guests with impaired hearing?

Answer: Removing facemasks is not required if there are effective alternatives. Airport sponsors are encouraged to anticipate foreseeable needs of airport guests who are deaf or hearing impaired, rather than waiting to decide how to address them on the spot. For instance, airport sponsors might require personnel to use facemasks with a clear panel that shows the wearer's mouth, if feasible. Airport personnel with masks could conspicuously carry pads of paper with them when in public, or use tablets or smartphones to communicate with airport guests. They can also remove masks and communicate with airport guests behind a raised car window or other clear barrier, when no other people around, or relocate the conversation to a place where there is a clear barrier.

Under DOT* Sec. 504 of the Rehabilitation Act regulations at 49 CFR Part 27 and U.S. Dept. of Justice Americans with Disabilities Act regulations at 28 CFR Part 35, airport sponsors, as well as their contractors and tenants must make reasonable accommodations and/or modifications for people with disabilities, except where doing so creates an undue burden, fundamental alteration, or direct threat to health or safety of others. See 28 CFR § 35.130(b)(7); 49 CFR § 27.7(e). More specifically, under 28 CFR §§ 35.160(a) and 35.161 and 49 CFR § 27.7(c), airport sponsors must ensure that communication with people with disabilities is as effective as with the general population. The requirements concern outcomes and do not specify particular methods that must be used. Additionally, to ensure that the public is adequately informed about assistance resources, airport sponsors can post notices at facilities and on websites in accessible format advising people with disabilities on how to make requests for reasonable accommodations and modifications.

Guidance here is not legally binding in its own right and will not be relied upon by the FAA as a separate basis for affirmative enforcement action or other administrative penalty. Conformity with this guidance, as distinct from existing statutes, regulations, and grant assurances, is voluntary only, and nonconformity will not affect existing rights and obligations.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

ACDBE COVID Q&A

Question: May airports allow a prime concessionaire more than 14 days to submit its good faith efforts documentation to the airport when a termination or substitution for good cause is requested? 49 CFR § 26.53(g).

Answer: The Termination/Substitution provisions under 49 CFR §§ 26.53(f)-(g) are applicable to Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) firm per 49 CFR § 23.25(e). The provisions prohibit a prime concessionaire from terminating an ACDBE subcontractor it has listed to meet a contract goal (or an approved substitute ACDBE firm) without good cause and the airport's prior written consent.

When an ACDBE subcontractor is terminated in accordance with these provisions, the airport must require the prime concessionaire to make good faith efforts and document its efforts. The airport may request the prime concessionaire to submit the documentation to the airport within 7 days, which may be extended for an additional 7 days, if necessary at the request of the prime concessionaire. § 26.53(g).

In light of the COVID-19* public health emergency, and given the current challenges in the airport industry and impact on ACDBE firms operating on airports, airports may extend the time for submission of good faith effort documentation for an additional 16 days, if necessary, at the request of the prime concessionaire, for a total period not to exceed 30 days.

Guidance here is not legally binding in its own right and will not be relied upon by the FAA as a separate basis for affirmative enforcement action or other administrative penalty. Conformity with this guidance, as distinct from existing statutes, regulations, and grant assurances, is voluntary only, and nonconformity will not affect existing rights and obligations.

Filing A Complaint

Helpful Links

Page last modified:

This page was originally published at: https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/acr/com_civ_support/