Integrating Planning and NEPA Processes for Airport Development Projects

 ACI-NA has recently published a guidance document titled "Integrating Planning and NEPA Processes for Airport Development Projects", which is available for download below.  The report was prepared in response to issues that airport operators, their consultants, and the FAA were experiencing as they took airport development projects from the early stages of planning, through environmental reviews, and ultimately to implementation. The issues experienced by stakeholders all centered on the lack of integration of airport planning processes and subsequent environmental review processes required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In several cases, this lack of integration had resulted in more lengthy and costly NEPA processes, adversely affected airport, FAA, and community relationships, and delayed project implementation.

In response to these concerns, ACI-NA formed a Task Force composed of stakeholders (airport operators, consultants, FAA representatives) to investigate how planning and NEPA processes could be better integrated to minimize delays to project implementation, as well as the benefits that can be attributed to better integration. This report is the outcome of that effort.  In addition to this document., the Task Group proposed a Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis Project, Integrating Airport Development and Federal Environmental Processes, which was completed in late 2009 (click here for ACRP Synthesis Report 17).

This report provides airport operators and their consultants with practical recommendations regarding how to improve the integration of airport planning and NEPA review processes. Improved integration of these processes could reduce project costs, delay, and implementation risks to all stakeholders through:

  • Faster and less costly airport development processes
  • Elimination of redundant and often conflicting inventory data, technical analysis or alternatives analysis
  • Improved ability of proposed projects to withstand legal and public scrutiny
  • Improved alignment between airport planning and environmental goals
  • Enhanced credibility with the public and other stakeholders
  • Reduced litigation risk
  • Reduced time required for federal agency review

The information in this report reflects the compilation of discussions of the Task Force and may not represent the specific recommendation of any one individual.  We thank all those who volunteered their time to participate in the NEPA/Project Planning Integration Task Force and assisted in the development of this document.

Click here to download version 1.0 of this guidance document:

For questions about this document or the Environmental Affairs Committee, please contact Katherine Preston at kpreston@aci-na.org or Chris Oswald, coswald@aci-na.org.