Cleaner, Leaner, & Greener

FAA's Inherently Low-Emission Airport Vehicle Pilot Program is underway, writes Michelle Garetson February 2003 The Federal Aviation Administration Office of Airports Community and Environmental Needs Division proposed its Inherently Low Emission...


FAA's Inherently Low-Emission Airport Vehicle Pilot Program is underway, writes Michelle Garetson


The Federal Aviation Administration Office of Airports Community and Environmental Needs Division proposed its Inherently Low Emission Airport Vehicle (ILEAV) Pilot Program back in November 2000 and through an application process, selected 10 public-use airports after February 2001 for the program.

Congress established the ILEAV Program under the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR-21) and restricted eligibility to:

  • Public-use airports in designated nonattainment areas (NAA).
  • Vehicles located or primarily used at the airport.
  • Vehicles operating exclusively on six alternative fuels: compressed natural gas (CNG), liquified natural gas (LNG), liquified petroleum gas (LPG/propane), electricity, hydrogen, or methanol-85.

Congress also limited Federal grant assistance to the "incremental purchase cost" of eligible low emission vehicles. There was no limitation on infrastructure beyond the overall 50-50 cost share requirement. The FAA also encouraged airports to provide public access to ILEAV refueling or recharging stations to maximize regional air quality benefits. All of the ILEAV grant agreements with airports were signed at the end of September 2001, when airports could begin to place equipment orders.

About the Program
Evaluating the reliability, performance, and cost-effectiveness of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) and infrastructure in the airport environment is the main goal of FAA's ILEAV program.

Jelen continues, "The program includes data gathering. The data shows how much electricity is consumed and how often the vehicles are used. I think this is a win-win program. The outcome has been a huge emission reduction."

The FAA administers the program under the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and adheres to AIP guidelines unless directed legislatively. Ten ILEAV grants were awarded and authorized for amounts of up to $2 million per airport. Airports must match the amount of each grant on a 50/50 basis. Some airports have successfully exceeded this requirement and leveraged additional local contributions.

The 10 airports chosen to participate were: Atlanta Hartsfield (ATL), Baltimore-Washington (BWI), Baton Rouge (BTR), Chicago O'Hare (ORD), Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW), Denver (DIA), New York's Kennedy (JFK) and LaGuardia (LGA), airports, Sacramento (SMF), and San Francisco (SFO).

FAA receives reports from participating airports in order to monitor the program and to compile project information for other interested airports and organizations. The reporting process will continue through 2004 or 2005, when most of the pilot projects are expected to be fully implemented.

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