There are 368 landing sites within the New England airport system (excluding heliports and seaplane bases). Of these, 156 are public-use airports that are publicly or privately owned, and 112 of these airports are eligible to apply to the FAA for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants. The goals of the "General Aviation – New England Regional Airport System Plan" are to:
- Identify the airport system essential to meet future General Aviation demand;
- Establish a "classification system" that provides an accurate assessment of airport roles;
- Present an overview of the infrastructure cost essential to sustain and improve the system;
- Create performance standards to monitor the system;
- Identify the General Aviation airports that are essential to the regional transportation system;
- Highlight the significance of general aviation in the economic development of New England;and
- Develop strategies that ensure a sustainable General Aviation airport system.
The fundamental questions to be addressed in this study are:
- Is the existing General Aviation airport system capable of handling the future General Aviation demand?
- Given the limitations of AIP and other funding, can or should the general aviation system be sustained as it exists today?
- Does the system have deficiencies in terms of system capacity, airport geographic coverage, airfield facilities, or navigational systems?
This study will address these issues and a myriad of other questions through a thorough examination of the New England General Aviation airports system including the development of airport roles, transportation and economic assessments, the identification of critical issues, the evolution of General Aviation in New England, and determining the policies, strategies and public investments that will be necessary to assure a wisely planned and managed General Aviation system through 2030. The study will help the FAA and New England state aviation officials to make informed decisions with regard to infrastructure investment and other planning priorities, as well as raise awareness of important issues facing the General Aviation system of airports in New England so they may be logically addressed by public policy makers.