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Certification Process

Part 139 Airport Certification

Any airport operator that desires to serve air carrier operations specified in Part 139 must comply with the requirements of the revised rule. The actions required by an airport operator to comply will vary depending on the type of air carrier operations served, whether the airport operator currently holds a Part 139 Airport Operating Certificate (AOC), and the status of the individual airport's Airport Certification Manual (ACM).

Airport Certification Manual

The ACM is a written document that details how the airport operator will comply with the requirements of Part 139. Airport operators that currently hold a Part 139 Airport Operating Certificate already have an ACM. Airport operators that currently hold a Part 139 Limited Airport Operating Certificate have a modified version on an ACM, known as an Airport Certification Specifications (ACS). Under the revised rule, all ACSs must be converted to ACMs. Airport operators applying for an AOC will need to develop an ACM and submit it with the AOC application.

ACM Submission Deadlines

Airport operators may continue to serve air carrier operations as they currently do until the deadlines for submitting new or revised ACMs to FAA. After these dates, airport operators that have not submitted their ACMs for approval will no longer be able to serve applicable air carrier operations.

Newly Certificated Airports

To avoid possible interruption of air carrier operations, FAA encourages airport operators to submit certificate applications and Airport Certification Manuals (ACMs) early.

Airport operators wanting to apply for an Airport Operating Certificate (AOC) must initiate the application process, as prescribed in § 139.103. Typically, the AOC application process is as follows:

  • The airport operator wanting to apply for an Airport Operating Certificate (AOC) contacts the appropriate FAA Regional Airports Division Office to initiate the application process.
  • The Regional Airports Division Office interviews the airport operator to obtain information about the airport and air carrier operations served (or anticipated to be served).
  • If FAA determines that a certificate is necessary, FAA staff will provide the airport operator with an application for certification (FAA Form 5280-1, Application for Certificate) and guidance materials.
  • The airport operator submits a completed application (as specified under § 139.103) to the Regional Airports Division Office for approval. The application package must include two copies of the airport's proposed ACM and written documentation as to when air carrier service will begin. Any requests for exemptions should be submitted at this time (as specified under § 139.111).
  • The FAA reviews the application and associated documentation to ensure they are complete and might conduct an inspection of the airport for compliance with the requirements of Part 139. The FAA will work with the airport operator to tailor the ACM to ensure compliance with revised rule and might request changes to the ACM and any procedures it describes.
  • As FAA reviews the application and ACM, FAA staff will contact the airport operator to discuss whether additional action is needed and to what extent air carrier operations can continue until an AOC is issued.
  • The FAA will issue an AOC if the application and other required documentation meets the provisions of Part 139 and any inspection shows the airport operator is in compliance with Part 139. The certificate may include other provisions FAA finds necessary to ensure safety in air transportation.

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