Overview of Airport Planning and Programming

Central Regional Airports Division

Airport Planning

Airport planning is a systematic process that establishes a strategy for the efficient development of airports consistent with local, State and national goals. The FAA establishes standards and provides guidance on national airport layout, master and system planning. A key objective of airport planning is to assure the effective use of airport resources in order to satisfy aviation demand in a financially feasible manner with consideration to the environment.

Sponsor's Capital Improvement Program (CIP)

Effective airport planning results in the sponsor identifying short term and long term needs of their airport. Airport needs may arise from aviation demand, airport inspections, runway safety recommendations and security recommendations.

Sponsors desiring federal aid submit their capital improvement plan (CIP) and supplemental documentation to the FAA for funding consideration. The sponsor may submit a request-for-aid at any time during the year. However, in order to be included in a specific fiscal year (FY), timely submittal of the request is essential. Typically, Sponsors must submit requests for a particular fiscal year by February 15th of the previous fiscal year. Funding consideration for requests submitted after this deadline will likely be delayed until the following fiscal year.

Sponsors should note that the preparation and submittal of a CIP project does not represent a guarantee that the sponsor will receive Federal funds. It simply initiates the process that allows the FAA to review the proposed development and offer concurrence or non-concurrence with the proposed work. The official notice that a sponsor will receive Federal funds is through a Congressional notification for release of funds. Until this formal notification is made, Sponsors shall portray their proposed project as a sponsor initiative.

FAA Airport Capital Improvement Program (ACIP)

The Airport Capital Improvement Program (ACIP) serves as the FAA's primary tool for project formulation. The FAA relies on the ACIP to serve as the basis for the distribution of limited grant funds under the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The ACIP provides the means to systematically identify, prioritize and assign funds for airport development. The FAA evaluates each proposed project for eligibility, justification, reasonableness of cost, priority assessment, reasonableness of project schedule, and information deficiencies. Projects the FAA deems acceptable are entered into the official ACIP.

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Last updated: Tuesday, August 2, 2022