- What is Part 139?
- Air Carriers using Part 139 Airports
- Helicopter Operations at Part 139 Airports
- Airports Affected
- Certification Process
- Classes of Airports
The FAA does not have the statutory authority to regulate airports operated by U.S. Government agencies, including airports operated by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). The revised Part 139 clarifies that the rule does not apply to these airports (see § 139.1(c)(2)).
However, in some instances, Part 139 requirements will apply to a civilian entity that has responsibility for a portion of an airport operated by the U.S. Government (see Airports with Civilian and Military Operations below).
Airport Operating Certificates (AOCs) Previously Issued to Military Airports
Prior to issuance of the revised Part 139, FAA issued Airport Operating Certificates, under FAA Exemption No. 5750, to certain military airports operated by the U.S. DOD that served civilian commercial carrier operations necessary to support Federal Government activities. Airport operating certificates issued under this exemption are no longer valid.
Air Carrier Use of U.S. Government-Operated Airports
Regulations covering the certification of certain air carriers, Part 121, will permit air carriers to use noncertificated airports operated by the U.S. Government if these airports comply with specified safety requirements (see revised § 121.590, Use of certificated land airports).
Airports with Civilian and Military Operations
Under the revised Part 139, civilian air carrier operations of either a joint-use airport or a shared-use airport will come under the purview of Part 139 (see § 139.1(b) and § 139.5).
The FAA has revised its policy regarding the certification of airports with civilian and military operations under the revised Regulation. Initially, FAA stated on this web site that if a civilian authority is only responsible for the terminal building and the landside and the U.S. Government controls the airfield, then no Part 139 Airport Operating Certificate is needed. This is no longer the case.
Any civilian authority that is only responsible for a loading ramp(s) or aircraft parking area(s) available for air carrier use will be required to hold a Part 139 Airport Operating Certificate and comply with the portions of the Regulation that are within their oversight. This would include requirements for maintaining paved areas of ramps and parking areas (Part 139.305), fuel fire safety procedures (Part 139.321), airport emergency plan (Part 139.325), airport condition reporting (Part 139.339), and marking/lighting construction and other unserviceable areas (Part 139.341). The FAA also will continue to require a civilian authority that controls any of the movement area, even if it is just a taxiway, to have a Part 139 Airport Operating Certificate.
So if the civilian authority controls any portion of a ramp, aircraft parking area, taxiway, and/or runway used by applicable air carriers, the civilian authority is responsible for maintaining these areas to Part 139 standards and describing procedures for doing so in the Airport Certification Manual (ACM). Otherwise, the ACM should describe those portions of ramp or movement areas used by air carriers that are controlled by the U.S. Government and reference the lease agreement between the civilian authority and the U.S. Government. While it isn't necessary to include this agreement in the ACM, at a minimum, FAA will need to review the agreement to ensure the conditions described in the ACM are accurate.
The ACM at such airports also will need to address compliance with Part 139 requirements that are not necessarily associated with a specific piece of pavement, such as Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF), snow removal, fuel fire safety, and wildlife hazard management. It is acceptable for the civilian authority to make arrangements for the U.S. Government to comply with these requirements, so long as this arrangement is FAA-approved and described in the ACM. For example, a military base has ARFF capability and is willing to provide ARFF during applicable air carrier operations, as specified in Part 139.
In addition, civilian authorities operating a joint-use or shared-use airport that have accepted Federal funds may have obligations under Federal grant assurances. Also, such civilian authorities may have other responsibilities under Federal regulations other than Part 139, particularly those regulations pertaining to air traffic, air navigation, and airport security.
Civilian Airport Operators that Have Accepted Federal Funds
Civilian authorities operating a joint-use or shared-use airport that are not covered by Part 139 requirements but have accepted Federal airport improvement funds may have obligations under Federal grant assurances. In addition, such civilian authorities may have other responsibilities under Federal aviation regulations other than Part 139, particularly those regulations pertaining to air traffic, air navigation, and airport security.