Navigating Section 163

Navigating Section 163

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The experts from C&S Companies and Kaplan Kirsch and Rockwell have joined forces to develop Navigating Section 163: A Guide to Facilitating Non-aeronautical Development at Your Airport, providing airport sponsors and their potential development partners the tools needed to navigate the complex new statutory requirements and realize the potential benefits under Section 163.

Section 163 reverses the prior expectation that almost all airport development is subject to FAA review and approval.  Under the new law, FAA’s authority to regulate on-airport land use is limited to only development that affects the airfield and aircraft operations or implicates federal funding. 

Without question, Section 163 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 has prompted some of the most significant changes ever to occur in the world of airport land use. For several generations, virtually any construction on an airport required review and approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which triggered environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  Often the time and cost associated with the NEPA process led to many missed airport development opportunities.

What does this mean and how does it apply to your airport? The Guide was designed to help the reader understand key issues and grasp the related regulatory implications for development on land owned and controlled by an airport. It also provides a roadmap for airport sponsors who want to minimize potential barriers to on-airport development.

Section 163 Man guiding airplane to gate

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This guide is for informational purposes only and is NOT intended to be used for providing legal advice—including the application of law to any particular set of facts and circumstances—and does not necessarily represent the views of any particular federal government entity.  Readers are urged to confer with their counsel and consultants about their particular facts and to address any specific legal questions.