I'm doing a little research into General Aviation airports and wasn't able to find any airport management forums or the like to pose this question, so I'm hopeful someone here will have some helpful insights. (Note: I did find a community associated with AAAE, but it didn't seem to have much of a community in it)

So I'm curious to hear from GA pilots, Airport Managers, and others on what the biggest daily challenges for GA Airports are?

I'm not talking about macro issues - federal/state/local funding, scarcity of land, governmental entities run wild (see Santa Monica Airport), etc - I'm interested in the daily operational issues of the local 5000' paved GA airport.

On the outside, these airports and FBOs see to be fairly straight forward enterprises, whether run by a municipality or privately operated. But I imagine it's not that simple.

Note: I am a private pilot and aircraft owner, primarily looking to expand my knowledge of the business of aviation - particularly GA. This question is intentionally broad, but I imagine will yield some fairly insightful specific answers.


I'm primarily concerned with answers pertaining to the overall business success of an airport or FBO. I understand that this might yield answers with a number of variables, but should overall have the common theme of reasons for business success or failure of the operator which is a key component of the continued operation of the airport facility itself.


closed as primarily opinion-based by Dave, SMS von der Tann, mins, Pondlife, CGCampbell Jul 15 '17 at 1:37

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome! This kind of question doesn't really fit well in this Q&A site. There is no single answer, and this is strongly a matter of opinion. Maybe you can rewrite the question to fix the two problems. $\endgroup$ – mins Jul 15 '17 at 1:12
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    $\begingroup$ Please note, on hold is not closed. If you would take the time to ask a more specific, narrower question, one that is less opinion and more factual, it will end up being reopened, I am sure. This is a topic I know I'd like to know more about, but yes, as it is it is way too broad. $\endgroup$ – CGCampbell Jul 15 '17 at 1:39
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    $\begingroup$ I think a problem here is that "general aviation airport" covers an extremely wide range, from places like dirt/grass strips in the Idaho back country (which might see one plane a week) to fly-in communities to places like Reid-Hillview in San Jose. One answer won't fit all. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Jul 15 '17 at 17:30

One set of challenges that comes to mind are the types of things you find at an airport that is on that cusp between having an operating control tower and not. I fly out of KJYO, Leesburg, VA and it very much fits into that catagory. It frankly just gets too busy sometimes to support operations managed only by pilots coordinating on CTAF. Examples of this include:

  • Wind conditions causing a conflict over whether Runway 35 or 17 should be in use.
  • Pilots doing straight in instrument approaches, while VFR pilots do pattern practice.
  • Conflicting planes on the single taxiway.

Indeed, I think the FAA understands this, since they are using it as the first US test site for a remote control tower. The several times I've flown when this was in operation where a breath of fresh air!


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