Ninety percent of the funds employed in developing, maintaining or repairing public use airports typically are provided by the FAA, with the airport owner/sponsor agreeing to honor FAA Sponsor Grant Assurances. These Sponsor Grant Assurances contain a considerable number of obligations including prohibitions against economic discrimination, prohibitions against fixed base operator enjoying the exclusive right to provide services at the airport, requirements that fixed base operators on the airport pay the same rates and charges, requirements that the airport be maintained suitably by the sponsor, requirements that the sponsor not divest itself of the rights and powers necessary to manage and maintain the airport, and requirements that the sponsor maintain a current Airport Layout Plan. Extensive experience in both Part 16 formal complaints and Part 13 informal complaints to address violations of the FAA Sponsor Grant Assurances. 

Wow! When you talk about Public Use Airports, you are getting into some convoluted relationships. There’s the entity that owns/sponsors and operates the airport. They are usually the same…but not necessarily. The County or City may own, but a management company is running it. It could be a small airport in the middle of nowhere with private individuals controlling even though the county owns it. They might like you. They might not. They may be partial to another aeronautical user and not you. They may jockey for a company that brings in more revenue even though you are legally on the airport for years and push you out. It’s sort of like Thanksgiving Dinner with both sides of the family competing against each other. YIKES!

The FAA has all these regulations, Advisory Circulars, Directives, etc. which are mostly ignored by the airport owner/sponsor. Sometimes, they just simply think that they can do what they want even though the signed Grant Assurances from the federal government which bring in LOTS of money for the airport owner/sponsor say differently. Many times, the aeronautical user on the airport (YOU) does not feel there is any recourse against the discrimination or random demands promulgated to get you off the airport in favor of another aeronautical user. Contact Alan today for a consultation.

Read Alan’s articles on Claims Against Operators of Public Airports:

Wind Farms and Public Use Airports – Why the FAA Fails to Ensure Air Safety

The explosion of wind turbine developments across the United States does not bode well for the continued viability of many public use airports. Overview of the Problem Increasingly, wind farms with wind turbine generators (WTGs) nearly 500 feet above ground level...

Palm Beach County Jet Ban Struck Down for the Second Time by the FAA

On February 22, 2019, the FAA Director of Airport Compliance found that the jet ban implemented by Palm Beach County at Lantana Airport violated FAA Sponsor Grant Assurance No. 22 .

Interview on CBS about unaccompanied minor not allowed to board Frontier Airlines flight

On August 14th, 2018, Alan Armstrong, pilot and aviation lawyer, was interviewed on CBS 46 about Frontier Airlines flight from Orlando, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia where unaccompanied minor was not permitted to board the flight after his aunt left him at the gate.

Interview on CNN TV about flight diverted with unaccompanied minors on board

On August 9th, 2018, Alan Armstrong, pilot and aviation lawyer, was interviewed by Brooke Baldwin of CNN on August 9, 2018, regarding Frontier Flight No. 1756 that was to have landed in Orlando but diverted to Atlanta and the lack of communication between the airline and the parents of unaccompanied minor children aboard the flight

Interview on WSB-TV about mechanic who threatened to sabotage aircraft

Nicole Carr of WSB-TV, Channel 2 interviewed Alan Armstrong about aircraft mechanic Nuetne Williamson who, in Las Vegas, threatened to sabotage aircraft in the presence of law enforcement officers. Williamson was promptly arrested and incarcerated in Las Vegas, and...

Importance of Airport Noise Studies

It is the FAA public policy to maintain public airports as part of a national transportation system. In conflict with this policy, many local governments fail to enact or enforce airport zoning ordinances. As a result, public airports throughout the United States now neighbor growing residential communities. Inevitably, private home owners are filing noise complaints concerning airport use.

Pat Epps’ Party w/Airshow

The 50th Anniversary of Epps Air Service was celebrated on Thursday evening, May 28, 2015, and a huge audience turned out to honor Pat Epps and his 50 years of service to the aviation community.

Airman’s Defense re Illegal 135 Operation

The case of Administrator v. Fulop, 6 NTSB 298, NTSB Order No. EA-2730, 1988 WL 250619 (N.T.S.B.) [the “Fulop case”] confirms that the NTSB does not apply a standard of strict liability against pilots in cases involving allegations of illegal air taxi operations. Even if the pilot’s recitation of the facts portrays him as being naïve about the underlying economics of the flights, still, the pilot is given the benefit of the doubt in that regard. This article will discuss the Fulop case and the lessons we can draw from that decision.

NOTE: This section does not cover everything there is to know about Claims Against Operators of Public Use Airports.

E. Alan Armstrong
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