Complaints about Airport Compliance
When airports receive Federal grant funds or the transfer of Federal property for airport purposes, their owners or sponsors must accept certain obligations and conditions. These obligations may be incurred by contract (Grant Assurances) or by restrictive covenants in property deeds. Anyone concerned about an airport's compliance with these obligations may file informal or formal complaints with FAA.
Informal Complaints (Part 13)
The FAA accepts informal complaints either verbally or in writing under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 13 (Part 13), Investigative and Enforcement Procedures (Section 13.1 only) (XML). FAA regional staff usually looks into these complaints. Part 13 imposes no time deadlines for issuing decisions.
- Compliance Guidance Letter (CGL) 2014-01, Procedures for Accepting and Investigating 14 CFR Part 13 Informal Complaints Alleging Violations of Grant Assurance Obligations and Surplus Property Deed Restrictions (PDF) (added 12/11/2014)
Formal Complaints (Part 16)
The FAA accepts formal complaints in writing under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 16 (Part 16), Rules of Practice for Federally-Assisted Airport Enforcement Proceedings (XML). Parties filing under Part 16 must be substantially affected by the alleged noncompliance. FAA headquarters staff looks into these complaints.
Part 16 imposes strict deadlines for filing, adjudication, and appeal. The Regulation lists specific requirements for filing a Part 16 complaint.
- Part 16 Decision Database
- Rules of Practice for Federally-Assisted Airport Enforcement Proceedings (78 FR 56135, Sept. 12, 2013) (PDF) - Effective November 12, 2013
- Part 16 FAQs
Dos and Don'ts for Airport Sponsors Responding to Part 16 Investigations
- Take it seriously. If the FAA has docketed the complaint, the FAA believes the allegations stated merit investigation.
- Understand the process. Review 14 CFR Part 16.
- Respond to each allegation.
- Tell us the story. Include supporting documentation needed to substantiate the facts.
- Recognize your obligations as an airport sponsor.
- Call names or make personal accusations.
- Send a copy of the grant assurances. You can refer to the assurances by number or statute.
- Ignore deadlines. If additional time is needed to respond, make a motion requesting additional time.
- Send unnecessary exhibits.
- Bring up unrelated issues. Focus on the allegations and the facts needed to respond.
- Be afraid to admit past mistakes that you have fixed. A Part 16 investigation focuses on current compliance.