The concerns of airport neighbors or local policymakers regarding airport operations, noise and safety should never be ignored, but addressed with openness and facts, as such concerns can easily escalate into ill-conceived attempts at regulation or legislation.

Operational Actions to Take

Preflight: Educate Yourself and Build Relationships

  • Build relationships with government officials and airport critics, sharing information about the value of the airport
  • Identify individuals, groups most likely to be concerned about flight operations, such as residents of recently constructed residential areas near the airport, or local elected aviation opponents.
  • Involve your company’s communications and government relations staff
  • Educate yourself on common concerns and appropriate responses
    • Hint: NBAA, other aviation organizations have a wealth of information on effectively addressing noise concerns from airport neighbors
  • Review possible safety issues, your airport’s safety record
    • Hint: NTSB accident database can be searched for all accidents near an airport
  • Map out a strategy for building rapport with neighbors, local elected officials

Engine Start: Put Your Plan Into Action

  • Involve your company management, and that of the airport and local aviation groups
  • Find, recruit people willing to help
  • Include PR-building ideas
    • Hint: NBAA is a good resource
  • Form an ad-hoc committee to manage the issue

Taxi: Spread the Word

  • Assign specific tasks to ad hoc committee members
  • Get to know both pro-airport and anti-airport community leaders
  • Build on the relationships you establish
    • Hint: NBAA can provide resources, advice
  • Consider letters to the editor of the local paper, pointing out the economic and other community benefits of your airport; include all segments of aviation, not just your operation
  • If talking to reporters, prepare yourself.
    • Hint: Check NBAA’s resources on communicating with the media

Takeoff Run: Stay Informed and Work With NBAA

  • Pull together your committee members from all constituencies on the airport
  • Identify the real issues – local revenue, land use, neighbors’ concerns, etc.
  • Alert and work with your NBAA regional representative
  • Check your regional business aviation association’s library for resources
  • Decide what facts, arguments best address the concerns

Wheels Up: Respond as Quickly as Practical

  • If practical, involve local pilots, other airport supporters
  • Provide them with facts and encourage them to write letters to the editor, call or e-mail local government officials
  • Become a press liaison; don’t be shy about calling reporters when you have news
  • If the issue has to do with anti-business aviation complaints, prepare yourself with facts
  • Check NBAA’s existing advocacy letters or backgrounder information for sample responses to GA image and other issues