Grant Assurances

Grant assurances are a method the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates and controls locally owned airports to ensure a return on their investment. By accepting Federal money, the Airport Sponsor is agreeing to abide by the Grant Assurances for a specified amount of time. The most common funding source that requires accepting the Grant Assurances is the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The most recent modifications to Grant Assurances were published in the Federal Register.

Grant Assurances are a continuation of the agreements that the US military used to transfer property to local entities after World War II. The agreements were known as AP-4 agreements and contained language that the local entity agreed to support, operate, and maintain the airport as a condition of the property transfer. The concept has morphed into the Grant Assurance program for modern management of the US civil aviation system.

In reality, Grant Assurances are the Federal governments way of ensuring that an Airport Operator maintains the airport in a good and working condition, uses the land to generate revenue to support the airport, keep the airport operating in the interest of the public, and ensure fair and equal access for aviation. Regulatory oversight of Grant Assurances are managed through the FAA Part 13 and Part 16 process.

Grant Assurances:

Airport Compliance Manual (FAA Order 5190.6B)

Application of Grant Assurances

Airport obligations to Grant Assurances include:

Airports Obligated by Grant Assurances

The FAA maintains a list of airports that are obligated to adhere to Grant Assurances. This list is FAA Order 5190.2R, List of Public Airports Affected by Agreements with the Federal Government. The Airport Master Record (FAA 5010 Form) also notes if the airport is obligated.

Airport Noncompliance List

The FAA maintains an Airport Noncompliance List (ANL) for airports with egregious violations of Grant Assurances. Once an airport is on the ANL, they will not receive Federal funding until compliant. There are several way that an airport could find itself on the ANL.

  • Title 14 CFR Part 16 formal finding of noncompliance.
  • Violations of certain US Code.
  • Noncompliance after requests by the FAA to resolve.

Length of Grant Assurance Obligations

The length of time that Grant Assurances apply vary on the type of property or improvement funded.

Infrastucture Development

For improvements such as pavement and facilities, the Grant Assurance will typically apply for 20 years. Equipment that typically has a lifespan of less than 20 years may have a shorter Grant Assurance time requirement. Examples of equipment could be an ARFF vehicle or snow removal equipment.

Land Purchase

If you use AIP funds to purchase property, the Grant Assurance can be assumed to be in perpetuity. Since property can continue to be used, the Grant Assurance assumes that you will continue using the property for aviation purposes. Some early Federal Aid to Airport (FAAP) and Airport Development Aid Program (ADAP) grants did not have this requirement however.

Surplus property deeds and nonsurplus land conveyance

Typically, federal property that was deeded to a local government for the purpose of aviation do not have expirations. The owner of the property shall accept the obligations as part of any transfers. Use caution when considering not applying obligations to federal transfers.

Enforcement Actions

The FAA has a process established for complaints against an airport sponsor. The type of complaint determines the actions taken. Either way, a Title 14 CFR Part 13 or Title 14 CFR Part 16 complain may be initiated against the sponsor. One is informal, the latter formal. The lesser Part 13 complaint can be filed with the Air District Office (ADO), where a formal Part 16 complaint must be filed with the Office of the Chief Counsel of the FAA in Washington, D.C.

Part 13 and Part 16 will be covered more in depth.

Grant Assurances Grouped By Type

This is a summary of the Grant Assurance for basic understanding only. This is not legal advice. Seek legal counsel before entering into any agreement with the FAA for a Grant Assurance.

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