Browse Projects > Detailed View

Airport Ownership Analysis for Public-Use Airports

II.        Research Problem Statement


The public-use airports in the United States are all unique to their locations, local industry and populations, and their ownership models.  There are several different ownership models: state agencies, municipalities, counties, authorities, private enterprise (an individual or a company), or a combination thereof.  Time and time again, airport ownership status comes into question. This study should evaluate the differences of each of the possible ownership models so that airport owners, communities and state legislators will have information necessary to make informed decisions on the future of the airport. 


As part of the analysis it will be interesting to note what form of ownership consistently yields the best results for an airport in terms of growth and sustainability.   Use of real case studies would be helpful in providing a full understanding of airport ownership. 


In a nation where airports are closed daily, could there be a direct relationship between airport ownership, airport sustainability and airport life expectancy? 


III.       Objective


Objectives of this research include an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each form of ownership of a public-use airport; including, but not limited to, state, municipality, authority and private.  A final summary should describe clear differences so that airport owners and decision makers at the local, state and federal levels can make decisions in the best interest of the airports and the communities that depend on them.


IV.       Research Proposed


The following list is a (non-inclusive) guideline to those aspects of airport ownership and operations that should be considered during the research of this project:



v     Airport Privatization for stability and efficiency

v     Funding

v     Public perception

v     Political conditions in the airport’s state or community

v     Airport Management

v     Charters/Legislation regulating the airport’s use and operation

v     Governing/Advisory Bodies

v     Airports meeting community needs as an asset

v     Joint-Use Airports (Military)


v     Human Assets:  Contractors vs. an Employee Base

v     Airport Preservation & Sustainability

v     Purchasing processes


Each of these aspects should be explored as they relate to actual cases where airports benefited or were weakened as a result of their ownership status. 


V.        Estimate of the Problem Funding and Research Period


Recommended Funding:  $400,000 (approximate)

Research Period:  24 months (approximate)


VI.       Urgency and Payoff Potential


It is proposed that the report be prepared in layman’s terms, and it is intended that the audience will be non-aviation readers that will have the opportunity to understand the common ownership issues facing some of today’s public-use airports.  The urgency of this project is found in the fact that time after time, airport ownership decisions are being made by some decision makers in an emotional manner.  Having this project completed and available for distribution will provide resources and assistance to those in the position of having to make airport ownership decisions. 


VII.     Related Research


Frost & Sullivan discuss alternative models of airport ownership in their 2006 publication, Airport Privatization found on www.marketresearch.com.

Sponsoring Committee:AV020, Aviation System Planning
Source Info:VIII. Person Developing the Problem

Jack W. Ferns
Director, NHDOT Division of Aeronautics, Rail & Transit
7 Hazen Drive/ PO Box 483
Concord, NH 03302-0483
p: (603) 271-1697
f: (603) 271-1689
e: jferns@dot.state.nh.us

IX. Process Used to Develop Problem Statement

This problem statement is a result of a collaboration of the Bureau of Aeronautics Staff, in reviewing a handful of the most common issues found among New Hampshire’s public-use airports.

X. Date and Submitted By
This problem statement is submitted by Jack W. Ferns on April 22, 2008.
Date Posted:08/03/2008
Date Modified:08/04/2008
Index Terms:Air transportation, Air transportation facilities, Air transportation policy, Ownership, Transportation by ownership, Aircraft by ownership, Public use, Decision making, Local service airlines, Local transportation,
Cosponsoring Committees: 
Administration and Management
Planning and Forecasting
Terminals and Facilities

Please click here if you wish to share information or are aware of any research underway that addresses issues in this research needs statement. The information may be helpful to the sponsoring committee in keeping the statement up-to-date.