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Airport Privatization Pilot Program


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.

As of April 2019, there are three airports in the program:

  • Approved:
    • Luís Muñoz Marín International Airport
  • Preliminary Application Accepted:
    • Hendry County Airglades Airport
    • St. Louis Lambert International Airport

Fact Sheet, Procedures, and Information

Most Recent Action Airport Name Airport Location Application Status Docket Number
2017 St. Louis Lambert International Airport St. Louis, MO Preliminary application accepted April 24, 2017. FAA-2017-0325
2016 Westchester County Airport White Plains, NY Preliminary application accepted December 2, 2016; Application withdrawn March 2019 FAA-2016-9477
2013 Chicago Midway International Airport Chicago, IL Preliminary application withdrawn September 9, 2013 FAA-2013-0011
2013 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. FAA-2009-1144
2012 Gwinnett County Briscoe Field Lawrenceville, GA Application withdrawn June 11, 2012 FAA-2010-0473
2010 Hendry County Airglades Airport Clewiston, FL Preliminary application approved October 18, 2010. Airport Sponsor is negotiating an agreement with a private operator. The airport sponsor is preparing a final application. FAA-2010-1052
2010 Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport New Orleans, LA Application withdrawn October 21, 2010 FAA-2009-0830
2008 New Orleans Lakefront Airport New Orleans, LA Application terminated 2008 FAA-2003-14246
2007 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. FAA-2003-14961
2001 Brown Field Municipal Airport San Diego, CA Application withdrawn 2001
2001 Niagara Falls International Airport Niagara Falls, NY Application withdrawn 2001 FAA-2003-14954
2001 Rafael Hernández Airport Aguidilla, PR Application withdrawn 2001


Program Questions

Media Inquiries

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