Airports of all sizes, whether they are commercial service, military or general aviation, are economic engines for the communities they serve. Conflicts can arise when development and infrastructure projects in an airport’s vicinity infringe on the airspace and operational requirements of that airport.
While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has jurisdiction over the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS), the process used to evaluate whether a project near an airport will affect the NAS is often misunderstood, misinterpreted or unknown to developers, planning agencies, designers, contractors and others. FAA has simplified the process determining if a project—even one that is several miles away from an airport—can affect its airspace or not.
Any construction, including antennas, buildings, fences, bridges and roadways; or construction-related equipment, such as cranes and temporary batch plants, can interfere with airspace and be a threat to the safety of civil, military and commercial aviation. This interference could be determined to be a hazard by the FAA.
Project-related activities may also be incompatible with airports in other ways. In many states, failure to obtain airspace or other approvals can cause project permit denial and project delay or even stoppage. If one does not plan for this approval step, it can be embarrassing and potentially expensive for the project’s bottom line.
Understanding when and who to call to determine if a project is subject to FAA airspace or other reviews can make all the difference.