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Part 139 Airport Certification

The FAA has determined it is not in the public interest to certificate heliports at this time and has exempted operators of heliports from complying with Part 139 requirements (see § 139.1(c)(5)).

Heliports typically are used by general aviation operators and serve very few air carrier operations. (Currently, only one heliport is voluntarily certificated under Part 139; although it does not serve air carrier operations conducted in helicopters with more than 30 seats.) Further, there are very few helicopters that can seat more than nine passengers, and fewer still are used for scheduled passenger operations. Since Congress has not given FAA the authority to certificate facilities serving general aviation operations and the vast majority of operations served by heliports are by general aviation operators, certificating the few heliports that serve air carrier operations would not significantly enhance safety.

The provisions of the revised Part 139 are designed for airports serving fixed-wing aircraft and often do not transfer to heliports. However, FAA will continue to monitor the situation and encourage heliport operators to follow Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5390-2, Heliport Design, and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 418. In addition, those heliport operators that have accepted Federal funds may be obligated to comply with AC 150/5390-2 under their grant assurances.

See also Helicopter Operations at Part 139 Airports.

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