Airport Frequently Asked Questions -- Temporary Airport Closure for Special Events

Airport Frequently Asked Questions

Temporary Airport Closure for Special Events

The Issue

Public events are frequently held at airports, which necessitates the closure of either a part of or the entire airport temporarily. The FAA, as part of the conditions of receiving federal financial assistance, requires the sponsor of a federally obligated airport not to cause or permit any activity that would interfere with its use for airport purposes. An airport developed or improved with federal funds may not be closed for the purpose of using the airport facilities for special outdoor events, such as sports car races, county fairs, parades, etc., without FAA approval.

The Importance to Our Members

Airports are developed for aeronautical purposes and should be available to meet the aeronautical needs of the community. Through proper planning, the occasional event can take place at the airport with minimal impact on aeronautical uses. Airport management should work with event organizers to minimize airport closure time and with the FAA to issue NOTAMS or other special flight procedures. Community events at the airport can increase community awareness for the airport and aviation, as well as provide revenue for the airport. At an airport that receives federal funds, prior approval from the FAA Airport District Office for the temporary closure of the airport for an event is required. Revenue that is derived from the event must be in accordance with FAA policy and applicable federal laws concerning revenue and revenue diversion.

Key Issues and FAA Standards

Any proposal to temporarily close an airport for non-aeronautical purposes must first be approved by the FAA. The standards listed in " FAA Order 5190.6B Chapter 7.21, "Temporary Closing of an Airport" emphasize:

  • promoting aviation events,
  • issuance of NOTAMs,
  • minimizing the closure period,
  • and the non interference with normal airport operations.

FAA supports the limited non-aeronautical use of airport facilities as long as there is not total closure of the airport. Safeguards must be in place to protect the aeronautical use of the airport. However, should the FAA decide to allow this activity on the airport, any revenue derived from this purpose must revert to the airport fund itself. Existing federal law prohibits the diversion of any airport revenue to a city or county general fund.

Additional key issues:

  • Has the FAA been notified of the temporary closure? Has the FAA approved the temporary closure?
  • Has the State Division of Aviation been notified of the temporary closure? Have they approved it?
  • Is the airport owner issuing a NOTAM?

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