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When an airport is open to the public, it is generally owned and operated by a government entity. If the local government leases or sells the airport, this would generate significant amounts of revenue.

What are the legal impediments which discourage a local government (who owns a public airport) from leasing or selling their airport to a private entity?

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    $\begingroup$ Not necessarily true -- privately owned public use airports are a thing in many parts of the US, and most of them have been privately owned since their inception. $\endgroup$ – UnrecognizedFallingObject Dec 4 '15 at 23:22
  • $\begingroup$ @UnrecognizedFallingObject I see what you're saying. I was just giving a background to my question, because that's the way it is in my law homework. $\endgroup$ – Blake.W Dec 4 '15 at 23:28
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    $\begingroup$ Which country are you talking about ? $\endgroup$ – Antzi Dec 5 '15 at 0:20
  • $\begingroup$ USA. It's in the tags $\endgroup$ – Blake.W Dec 5 '15 at 0:21
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    $\begingroup$ For a good example you can read about the ongoing battle over Santa Monica; the city wants to close it but the federal government says they can't. This article has some details of the legal arguments and you can Google plenty more. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Dec 5 '15 at 18:07
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One possible impediment might be the grant assurances that come with accepting Federal aid to improve the airport.

In short, if the local airport accepts money from the Federal government to improve the airport, that money is often granted "with strings attached" - requirements that the airport remain open, etc.

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    $\begingroup$ I did consider the grant agreement, however, the specific circumstances (from my law textbook) do not mention any AIP federal funding. So I'm thinking its referring to a state or local government independently owning a public airport. $\endgroup$ – Blake.W Dec 4 '15 at 21:35
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    $\begingroup$ You can buy a stake from an airport, Google "China buys Toulouse airport" $\endgroup$ – Taher Elhouderi Dec 4 '15 at 22:16
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    $\begingroup$ This is probably what the book is looking for as an answer: It is the aspect that makes sale of the airport least attractive to a developer. It's worth noting however that grant assurance obligations would really only be an "impediment" if the buyer intends to cease operating the land as an airport and redevelop it for other purposes (housing, shopping, etc.) - If the buyer intends to operate the airport as a going concern a requirement that it continue to operate as an airport wouldn't really impact their plans. $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Feb 15 '16 at 5:57
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Some places have land laws that protect public spaces as well as Privately Owned Public Spaces. For example there are Privately Owned Public Use Airports in the US like Trenton-Robbinsville N87. In some cases the laws may not prevent the rental to a private organization but may require that the airport remain in public use. IN this case the government may not want to rent/sell it since it needs to remain a public entity anyway.

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All US aircraft and airfields are subject to militarization on a moments notice. It's an old Cold War law that's still on books. In NATO planning, virtually the entire private airliner fleet was going to be militarized to form an airbridge if the Russkies invaded.(It was assumed that nuclear attack subs would be way worse on ocean shipping than German diesel-electric were in WWII.)

Some airports are designated emergency military landing zones. Used to be this little grass stripped airport outside of Bangs, Tx that had to sweat to land an ultra-light but still had an official notice on the wall that it was expected to handle military aircraft during a designated emergency. I finally figured out they meant helicopters from the nearby National Guard training ground.

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