Categories of Air Carriers

Air Carriers are divided into two categories, large and small. A large air carrier aircraft is designed for at least 31 passenger seats and a small air carrier aircraft is designed for more than 9 passenger seats but less than 31 passenger seats.

Classes of Airport Operations

Airports are classified into four classes, based on the type of air carrier operations served:

Airport Classes
Type of Air Carrier Operations Class I Class II Class III Class IV
Scheduled Large Air Carrier Aircraft (at least 31 seats) X      
Unscheduled Large Air Carrier Aircraft (at least 31 seats) X X   X
Scheduled Small Air Carrier Aircraft (10 to 30 seats) X X X  

As of August 2011, in the FAA Southern Region there are 77 Class I, 2 Class II, and 19 Class IV Airports, for a total of 98 Certificated Airports. There are currently no Class III airports in the Southern Region.

Basic Phases of a 14 CFR Part 139 Inspection

  1. Pre-inspection review of office airport files and airport certification manual. In-briefing with airport management. Organize inspection time schedule, meet with different airport personnel.
  2. Administrative inspection of airport files, paperwork, etc. This also includes the updating of the Airport Master Record, (FAA Form 5010), and review of the Airport Certification Manual(ACM), Notices to Airmen (NOTAM), airfield self inspection forms, etc.
  3. Movement area inspection - Check the approach slopes of each runway end; inspect movement areas, in order to ascertain condition of pavement, markings, lighting, signs, abutting shoulders and safety areas; observe ground vehicle operations; ensure the public is protected against inadvertent entry and jet or propeller blast; check for the presence of any wildlife; check the traffic and wind direction indicators.
  4. Aircraft rescue and fire fighting inspection - Conduct a timed response drill; review ARFF personnel training records including annual live-fire drill and documentation of basic emergency medical care training; check equipment and protective clothing for operation, condition and availability.
  5. Fueling facilities inspection - Inspection of fuel farm and mobile fuelers; check airport files for documentation of their quarterly inspections of the fueling facility; review certification from each tenant fueling agent concerning completion of fire safety training.
  6. Night inspection - Conducted to evaluate runway/taxiway and apron lighting and signage, pavement marking, airport beacon, wind cone, lighting, and obstruction lighting for compliance with FAR Part 139 and the ACM; a night inspection shall be conducted if air carrier operations are conducted or expected to be conducted at an airport at night or the airport has an instrument approach.
  7. Post inspection briefing with airport management - Discuss findings; issue Letter of Correction noting violations and/or discrepancies if any are found; agree on a reasonable date for the correction of any violations and give safety recommendations.