Public-use airports are required to be licensed under Code of Virginia §5.1 and 24VAC5-20 of the Virginia Administrative Code. In addition, private airports within five miles of a public-use airport are also required to be licensed. Public-use airports are licensed for several reasons, including a requirement that they have sufficient financial responsibility to adequately protect public safety and investment. The public-use airport license serves as the distinguishing characteristic of a facility which is open to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis and is eligible to receive public financial support.
Revisions to 24VAC5-20 of the Virginia Administrative Code became effective November 20, 2013. A copy of the new regulations is provided here. If you have any questions on the new regulations, please contact the Airport Services Division at 804-236-3632.
The public-use airport license is issued in two parts; Part 1 is a formal certificate, and Part 2 provides information concerning runway configuration and compliance with minimum requirements. A public-use license is issued for an initial seven-year period. Licenses are renewed at the end of the seven years and may be modified or reclassified at any time. The fee for any of these licensing activities, currently $25, is placed in the Aviation Special Fund and must be used for aviation purposes in Virginia.
Private-use Airports Within Five-Miles of a Public-use Airport
The licensing requirement for a private-use airport, heliport or landing area within five miles of a public-use airport is a one-time process designed to provide public review of an individual's desire to build or locate a private-use airport on private property. Public review, by the Department is required of an individual's right to locate an airport on their property anytime the location of that airport may conflict with the airspace of a public-use facility. Because the Federal Aviation Administration must approve the airspace for any airport, the Department's review and hence, the licensing requirement is part of the public review process. There is no fee to license a private-use airport, and owners of other private-use airports are only required to register their airports with the Department. The license runs concurrently with the staggered license renewal period of public-use airports by geographic areas of the State according to Virginia Aviation Board Areas of Responsibility.
Owners of private-use airports not within five miles of a public-use airport are only required to register their airports with the Department.
For additional information contact the Department's Licensing Section at 804-236-3637 or 1-800-292-1034, (Extension: 102).
Annual, Based Aircraft Survey
Public-use and private-use airport owners or sponsors are required to submit an annual based aircraft survey to the Department. This survey, which consists of two parts, is designed to track both aviation demand for local airport and State system planning purposes, and to assist the Department in efforts to ensure that all Virginia-based aircraft are properly licensed.
Annual Survey of Financial Responsibility
Title 5.1-88.7 of the Code of Virginia provides that every licensed public-use airport must maintain adequate amounts of liability insurance. Each year, the Department is required to verify that each airport has liability insurance or other means of financial responsibility which satisfies the minimum amounts required by law. Near the anniversary date of each airport's liability insurance policy, the Department will survey the airports and ask that each airport sponsor or owner provide proof that they are maintaining adequate insurance. The proof can take the form of a copy of the insurance policy, a copy of the declaration's page of the policy, or a statement issued by the insurance company which clearly states the amount of insurance and the type of coverage provided.
Adequate liability insurance is considered a minimum requirement for licensing and any airport which does not maintain adequate insurance can have its public-use license suspended or revoked. Liability insurance is not required for private-use airports.