Program Description

The Airport Improvement Program (AIP) provides grants to public agencies - and, in some cases, to private owners and entities - for the planning and development of public-use airports that are included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS).

Recipients of grants are referred to as "sponsors." The description of eligible grant activities is described in the authorizing legislation and relates to capital items serving to develop and improve the airport in areas of safety, capacity, and noise compatibility. In addition to these basic principles, a sponsor must be legally, financially, and otherwise able to carry out the assurances and obligations contained in the project application and grant agreement.

Eligible projects include those improvements related to enhancing airport safety, capacity, security, and environmental concerns. In general, sponsors can get AIP funds for most airfield capital improvements or rehabilitation and in some specific situations, for terminals, hangars, and non-aviation development. Certain professional services that are necessary for eligible projects (such as planning, surveying, and design) - can also be eligible. The FAA must be able to determine that the projects are justified based on civil aeronautical demand, and the projects must also meet Federal environmental and procurement requirements.  

General Program Requirements

To be eligible as an Airport Sponsor, a tribe or native village must own or lease a public-use airport that is listed in the current National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). In some instances, as is the case in Alaska, a state or local government may own and operate the airport for the benefit of a local tribe or native village.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this program.

Application Process

Tribes that qualify as an eligible sponsor may contact their local FAA Airports District Office (ADO) to coordinate future planning and development projects at their airport. Tribes and native villages that do not qualify as a Sponsor may contact their State aviation agency to determine if there is opportunity for their community to benefit under the AIP through sponsorship by the local or state agency.

Pre-application coordination is necessary to fulfill a broad range of requirements including airspace coordination, operational and safety evaluation, environmental review and other considerations. Grants are then based on defined costs (such as construction bids) as opposed to estimates. Deadlines for annual grant applications are published in the Federal Register and typically fall within a May to early July timeframe, but the issuance of a grant is the final step in a long process involving many months and often years of advance planning and associated processes. All grants for a given Federal fiscal year must be established prior to the end of that fiscal year (September 30).

A list of ADO contact information can be found here.

Program Contact Information

Please contact the appropriate FAA Airport District Office (ADO) for more information.

Additional Information

Length of ProgramThe AIP depends upon both Congressional authorization and annual appropriations. Once a grant is issued, recipients are expected to proceed and complete construction in a timely manner, normally within 1-2 construction seasons.
Entities Eligible for Grant AssistanceTribes and native villages that own or lease a public-use airport that is included in the FAA's National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS)
Do Tribes compete with other entities for funding from the program?No. Each eligible location will qualify for some level of apportionment funding based on their airport size category. Locations may also qualify for AIP discretionary funding depending on the national priority of the project.
Type of Assistance ProvidedProject grant and advisory services
Funding TypeFederal assistance is provided in the form of a grant agreement
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number20.106
Matching Funds RequiredYes. The Federal share for airports other than Medium and Large Hubs is 90% of eligible costs. This rate may be slightly higher for airports located in states with significant amounts of public owned land. The Federal share for Medium and Large hub airports is 75% of eligible costs. Some state aeronautical agencies are able to assist with part of the required local match.
Can the funding from the program be renewedAIP is not a conventional renewal program. However, eligible airports may be entitled to apportioned funds if they have eligible and justified capital projects that meet all of the requirements. Primary airports can carry over their annual entitlement funds for up to two years; nonprimary airports can carry over their entitlements for up to three years.

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