The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicts that the national airspace system will become increasingly congested over time, imposing costs of delay on passengers and regions. While transforming the current air-traffic control system to the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) may provide additional en route capacity, many airports will still face constraints at their runways and terminals. In light of these forecasts, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to evaluate regional airport planning in metropolitan regions with congested airports. GAO (1) identified which airports are currently or will be significantly congested and the potential benefits of regional airport planning, (2) assessed how regions with congested airports use regional airport planning in decision making, and (3) identified factors that hinder or aid in the development and implementation of regional airport plans. GAO reviewed studies; interviewed FAA, airport, and other aviation and transportation officials; and conducted case studies in selected regions.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Transportation||1. To ensure that federal AIP funds are employed to their maximum benefit and to improve the level of regional- and airport-level coordination, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to develop an FAA review process for regional airport system plans to ensure that they meet FAA standards and airport system planning guidance as well as provide technical support for regional planners undertaking such planning.|
|Department of Transportation||2. To ensure that federal AIP funds are employed to their maximum benefit and to improve the level of regional- and airport-level coordination, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to use its existing statutory authority to give priority to funding airport projects that are consistent with RASPs.|