Frequently Asked Questions


What is an airport master plan?

An airport master plan is a document that represents the long-term (20-year period) development goals of an airport and is typically reviewed and updated every 5 to 10 years. An airport master plan provides the following:


  • A graphic presentation of future airport development and anticipated land uses within its vicinity;

  • A schedule for development;

  • An achievable financial plan;

  • Justification for the plan technically and procedurally; and

  • An implementation plan that satisfies local, state, and federal regulations.


What components make up an airport master plan?

The components of an airport master plan may include the following:


  • Study design and identification of issues

  • Inventory, surveys, and data collection

  • Aviation forecasts

  • Demand capacity and analysis

  • Facility requirements

  • Alternative development

  • Financial feasibility

  • Environmental overview/analysis

  • Implementation plan for development

  • Updating the Airport Layout Plan (ALP) drawing set in accordance with federal airport operating and design standards


How is an airport master plan approved?

An airport master plan, inclusive of the ALP, is produced based upon FAA guidelines and regulations found in FAA Advisory Circulars, 150/5070-6B, Airport Maser Plans and 150/5300-13A, Airport Design.


The FAA does not approve the master plan text document, but rather “accepts” it, meaning they do not approve the narrative information or data contained in the overall plan. The final ALP drawing set, however, is approved by the State and FAA as being in conformance with planning and design guidelines.




What is an Airport Layout Plan (ALP)?

An ALP is a scaled graphic presentation of existing and proposed airport facilities such as runways, taxiways, aprons, terminal building, hangars, landside roadways, parking lots, and navigation aids at an airport. An ALP also includes relevant safety clearance and dimensional information for airport design surfaces such as runway safety areas (RSAs), runway object free areas (ROFAs), runway protection zones (RPZs), and building restriction lines (BRL). The ALP drawing is typically one of several drawing sheets within an “ALP drawing set.” Other drawings in the set may include a terminal area plan, airspace plan, and an airport property map. Under certain circumstances, the ALP drawings may be updated rather than the entire master plan for an airport. The FAA requires an airport sponsor to keep the ALP current as significant changes occur at the airport. Any development on the airport that the FAA funds must first be shown on the ALP, which is one reason why it is important for an airport to periodically update its ALP.


Is Airport development funded with taxpayer’s money?

People who use our air transportation system (including people shipping packages, private pilots, airline passengers, and employees flying on corporate aircraft) pay for the costs of developing America’s National Airspace System (NAS) and a portion of public use airports. Similar to the national highway system, much of airport infrastructure is paid for with user taxes on aviation fuels.


Typically, federal funding is provided by the FAA Airport Improvement Program (AIP) which is supported by airline ticket fees, fuel taxes, and other similar revenue sources. AIP is funded by aviation user fees deposited in the federal aviation trust fund for the purpose of improving the nation’s aviation infrastructure. Currently, AIP funds account for 90% of eligible projects at airports such as the Bradford Regional Airport. The remaining 10% of project costs for AIP-eligible projects are divided between state and local funds, typically contributing 5% each. Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs), collected from each passenger that boards a commercial airline flight at Bradford Regional, are typically used to pay the 5% local cost of AIP eligible projects. PennDOT also offers funding support for non-AIP eligible projects.