As we reported last month in an earlier blog post, wildlife and the presence of hazardous attractants pose a serious threat to safe airport operations.
In order for airports to garner a better understanding of wildlife activity, the FAA instituted formal evaluation processes including the completion of a Wildlife Hazard Assessment (WHA).
Historically, the FAA required Part 139 certificated airports to complete a WHA if a “triggering” event such as a wildlife strike or wildlife of any size or numbers were observed. However, in 2009, the FAA initiated rulemaking which would require all Part 139 airports to complete a WHA regardless of a triggering event. The FAA plans to release the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking later this year.
Additionally, late last month, the FAA’s Office of Airports further enforced their commitment to safe airport operations by announcing the initiation of a program encouraging General Aviation (GA) airports to conduct wildlife hazard assessments. The FAA will support general aviation efforts by making Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding available for these assessments.
In fact, GA airports currently accepting AIP funds will be required to conduct a WHA if necessary.
- Airports that have 100+ jets and greater than 75,000 operations per year are considered Group 1. These airports must have their wildlife hazard initiated by the end of year 2015.
- Group 2 airports have 20 – 99 jets and between 30,000 and 75,000 operations per year. Their wildlife hazard assessment must be initiated by the end of 2020.
- Group 3 airports have 0-19 jets and between 10,000 and 30,000 operations per year. Group 3 airports will be required to complete a wildlife assessment site evaluation by the end of 2025.
- Group 4 airports are those with fewer than 10,000 operations per year. These GA airports will receive specific FAA instructional guidance documents relative to wildlife hazard identification and establishment of wildlife control programs.
Both changes can be referenced in the February 28, 2011 FAA Fact Sheet.