Investing on the Ground to Improve Aviation Security


The FAA’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP) provides grants that fund airport planning and infrastructure projects such as constructing or rehabilitating runways, taxiways, ramps, and runway safety areas in addition to airport signage, lighting, and markings. The grants strengthen U.S. aviation infrastructure by improving safety, efficiency, and the overall travel experience for pilots and passengers alike.

For large and medium primary-hub airports, the grant covers 75 percent of eligible costs or 80 percent for noise program implementation. For small primary, reliever, and general aviation airports, the grants cover a range of 90–95 percent of eligible costs, based on statutory requirements. In 2018, the AIP awarded more than $3.5 billion to airports of all sizes in all 50 states and in four U.S. territories.

According to the FAA’s most recent economic analysis, U.S. civil aviation accounts for $1.6 trillion in total economic activity and supports nearly 11 million jobs. Consequently, these AIP grants play a pivotal role in helping to keep America flying safely. As a result, ALPA continues to advocate for these and other types of investments in the U.S. national airspace system. The following list includes some of the major airports receiving AIP funds and the projects being funded:

In Canada

The largest airports in Canada are owned by the federal government and operated by the respective airport authorities in accordance with the National Airports Policy.

When airport improvements are deemed necessary, they’re sometimes jointly funded by airports, local municipalities, and the federal government. But the bulk of funding normally comes from landing fees that airlines pay and airport improvement fees that passengers pay on each ticket they purchase.

Transport Canada does run the Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) for funding improvements to regional airports. Examples of recent ACAP-funded projects include $3,930,528 for taxiway pavement repair at Michel–Pouliot Gaspé Airport in Québec and $5,021,334 for airside surface rehabilitation at Clyde River Airport in Nunavut.

This article was originally published in the December 2018 issue of Air Line Pilot.

Read the latest Air Line Pilot (PDF)