49 U.S. Code § 44706 - Airport operating certificates

§ 44706.
Airport operating certificates
(a)General.—The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall issue an airport operating certificate to a person desiring to operate an airport
that serves an air carrier operating aircraft designed for at least 31 passenger seats;
that is not located in the State of Alaska and serves any scheduled passenger operation of an air carrier operating aircraft designed for more than 9 passenger seats but less than 31 passenger seats; and
that the Administrator requires to have a certificate;
if the Administrator finds, after investigation, that the person properly and adequately is equipped and able to operate safely under this part and regulations and standards prescribed under this part.
(b)Terms.—An airport operating certificate issued under this section shall contain terms necessary to ensure safety in air transportation. Unless the Administrator decides that it is not in the public interest, the terms shall include conditions related to—
operating and maintaining adequate safety equipment, including firefighting and rescue equipment capable of rapid access to any part of the airport used for landing, takeoff, or surface maneuvering of an aircraft; and
friction treatment for primary and secondary runways that the Secretary of Transportation decides is necessary.
The Administrator may exempt from the requirements of this section, related to firefighting and rescue equipment, an operator of an airport described in subsection (a) of this section having less than .25 percent of the total number of passenger boardings each year at all airports described in subsection (a) when the Administrator decides that the requirements are or would be unreasonably costly, burdensome, or impractical.
(d)Commuter Airports.—
In developing the terms required by subsection (b) for airports covered by subsection (a)(2), the Administrator shall identify and consider a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives and select from such alternatives the least costly, most cost-effective or the least burdensome alternative that will provide comparable safety at airports described in subsections (a)(1) and (a)(2).
(e)Effective Date.—
Any regulation establishing the terms required by subsection (b) for airports covered by subsection (a)(2) shall not take effect until such regulation, and a report on the economic impact of the regulation on air service to the airports covered by the rule, has been submitted to Congress and 120 days have elapsed following the date of such submission.
(f)Limitation on Statutory Construction.—
Nothing in this title may be construed as requiring a person to obtain an airport operating certificate if such person does not desire to operate an airport described in subsection (a).
(Pub. L. 103–272, § 1(e), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 1189; Pub. L. 104–264, title IV, § 404, Oct. 9, 1996, 110 Stat. 3256.)

Historical and Revision Notes



Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)


49 App.:1432(b) (1st, 2d sentences).

Aug. 23, 1958, Pub. L. 85–726, 72 Stat. 731, § 612(b); added May 21, 1970, Pub. L. 91–258, § 51(b)(1), 84 Stat. 234; Nov. 27, 1971, Pub. L. 92–174, § 5(b), 85 Stat. 492; Sept. 3, 1982, Pub. L. 97–248, §§ 524(f), 525(b), 96 Stat. 697.


49 App.:1432(b) (3d, last sentences).


49 App.:1432(c).

Aug. 23, 1958, Pub. L. 85–726, 72 Stat. 731, § 612(c); added July 12, 1976, Pub. L. 94–353, § 19(a), 90 Stat. 883; Sept. 3, 1982, Pub. L. 97–248, § 525(c), 96 Stat. 697.

In subsection (a), before clause (1), the words “may file with the Administrator an application for an airport operating certificate” are omitted as surplus. In clause (3), the words “the requirements of” are omitted as surplus. The word “rules” is omitted as being synonymous with “regulations”.

In subsection (b), before clause (1), the words “conditions, and limitations . . . reasonably” are omitted as surplus. In clause (2), the words “grooving or other” are omitted as surplus.


1996—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 104–264, § 404(a), added par. (2), redesignated former par. (2) as (3), substituted “if” for “(3) when” in former par. (3) and adjusted the margins of that par. to make it a flush provision following par. (3).

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 104–264, § 404(b), added subsec. (d).

Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 104–264, § 404(c), added subsec. (e).

Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 104–264, § 404(d), added subsec. (f).

Effective Date of 1996 Amendment

Except as otherwise specifically provided, amendment by Pub. L. 104–264 applicable only to fiscal years beginning after Sept. 30, 1996, and not to be construed as affecting funds made available for a fiscal year ending before Oct. 1, 1996, see section 3 of Pub. L. 104–264, set out as a note under section 106 of this title.

Deemed References to Chapters 509 and 511 of Title 51

General references to “this title” deemed to refer also to chapters 509 and 511 of Title 51, National and Commercial Space Programs, see section 4(d)(8) of Pub. L. 111–314, set out as a note under section 101 of this title.

Improvement of Runway Safety Areas

Pub. L. 109–115, div. A, title I, Nov. 30, 2005, 119 Stat. 2401, provided in part:

“That not later than December 31, 2015, the owner or operator of an airport certificated under 49 U.S.C. 44706 shall improve the airport’s runway safety areas to comply with the Federal Aviation Administration design standards required by 14 CFR part 139: Provided further, That the Federal Aviation Administration shall report annually to the Congress on the agency’s progress toward improving the runway safety areas at 49 U.S.C. 44706 airports.”

Small Airport Certification

Pub. L. 106–181, title V, § 518, Apr. 5, 2000, 114 Stat. 145, provided that:

“Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Apr. 5, 2000], the Administrator [of the Federal Aviation Administration] shall issue a notice of proposed rulemaking on implementing section 44706(a)(2) of title 49, United States Code, relating to issuance of airport operating certificates for small scheduled passenger air carrier operations. Not later than 1 year after the last day of the period for public comment provided for in the notice of proposed rulemaking, the Administrator shall issue a final rule on implementing such program.”

This is a list of parts within the Code of Federal Regulations for which this US Code section provides rulemaking authority.

This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].

It is not guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date, though we do refresh the database weekly. More limitations on accuracy are described at the GPO site.

14 CFR - Aeronautics and Space




49 CFR - Transportation



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