The minimum standards, then, by virtue of the business operator's agreement, become mandatory. Minimum standards should be reasonable, relevant to the proposed activity, and have a goal of protecting the level and quality of services offered to the public. Once established, minimum standards should be applied objectively and uniformly to all similarly situated on-airport aeronautical activities.
SPECIALIZED SERVICES; FUTURE CONDITIONS
Specialized aviation service operations (SASOs) should not be required to meet the same set of minimum standards as an FBO. For example, a commercial flight school would not need to lease the same amount of land or space as a full-service FBO providing multiple services.
Each airport operator should develop standards applicable to the type and class of activity being provided. (This is an excellent example of why each airport may use another airport's standard as a guideline, but an individual airport's minimum standards must be tailored and written specifically for that airport. In fact A.C. 150/5190-5 clearly states that the FAA will not endorse "fill-in-the-blank" minimum standards because of the high probability that many airport sponsors would not modify the document to the needs of their specific airports.
In Section 2d (1 thru 7) of the A.C., the FAA provides suggestions of items to consider when developing minimum standards. Certainly one of the more difficult issues faced in the development of minimum standards is to prepare the document to meet the conditions on the airport today — and for the standards to be applicable and reasonable to future airport commercial tenants.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
Section 3 contains guidance on the development of minimum standards. A series of questions are provided to help airport sponsors identify and address some of the various activities typically offered to the public by commercial aeronautical service providers. Additionally, this section helps an airport sponsor with questions on personnel requirements, airport and passenger services, airport upkeep and maintenance, flight training activities, aircraft charter and air taxi, aircraft engine/accessory repair and maintenance, skydiving, and ultralight vehicles.
As an airport's standards are developed, many additional questions will need to be asked. This is one of the reasons it's important to involve all commercial aeronautical service providers at some point during the development process. One of the more difficult tasks is to write the standards in a fair, reasonable, worthwhile, and enforceable manner.
While an airport is in the process of developing new minimum standards, it should consider and plan on the best procedure for implementing the standards. Should they become part of each lease? Are they provided with RFPs? Should each tenant sign that he/she has received and accepted the airports minimum standards? How will the standards be enforced with existing tenants? And, what will be the process for updating the document?
The enforcement process is found in Section 4 of the A.C. The contractual nature of the Airport Compliance Program is a result of language in the Airports and Airway Improvement Act of 1982, as amended, 49 U.S.C. Section 47101, et. seq., and the airport sponsor's agreement to comply with assurances contained in the grant assurances in exchange for federal airport development assistance.
Under the Airport Compliance Program, any person who believes an airport sponsor is in noncompliance with an assurance may register a complaint with the ADO office. If the ADO confirms the complaint allegations and the airport sponsor fails to become compliant, the individual may file a formal compliant under 14 CFR Part 16. A determination against the sponsor by the FAA can result in the withholding of current grant fund payments or denial of future grants.
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Minimum Standards are a very effective tool for dealing with property related issues, tenant concerns and problems, and avoiding the appearance of providing exclusive rights. However, like many other management documents this document is only valuable if the time and energy was invested in the preparation.
FAA Terms and Definitions
FAA, airport operators, and airport users may use many of the same terms; however, the definitions can sometimes be misunderstood. Following are FAA's definitions for key terms used in this and other Advisory Circulars.
Standards Review NATA recommendations to FAA's proposed rewrite of Advisory Circular on minimum standards Special to Airport Business: Subcommittee Report, NATA Airports Committee...
The Need For Standards By Bobbi Thompson, Executive Vice President, Airport Business Solutions September 2002 The FAA’s latest A.C., and why minimums can make a difference...