ICAO Annex 14 (which deals primarily with SARPS for international airports) outlines requirements for rescue and firefighting that the airports shall have based on the fuselage lengths of the planes that visit said airports. Each category would define the equipment, amount of foam, discharge rate, etc.

Here the international airports comply with the users' requirements. It made me think of the other way around.

Suppose a pilot flies a tiny GA plane to a remote uncontrolled airport on a scenic tour. I don't expect that airport to have any means of rescue and firefighting apart from perhaps a call made to the local police.

But now suppose an air carrier decides to carry passengers to that airport.

Are there regulations that limit the airports an air carrier can visit based on rescue equipment? If not, how is the minimum level/category of rescue and firefighting guaranteed when not dealing with international airports?

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    $\begingroup$ I suspect this is covered by FAR Part 121 or the opspecs (or international equivalent). Search term: ARFF $\endgroup$ Apr 24, 2019 at 17:13
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    $\begingroup$ Runway length of the "remote uncontrolled airport" would also be a factor. Many passenger carrying airplanes need longer runways than the small rural runways offer. $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Apr 24, 2019 at 18:18

1 Answer 1


For at least part 121 operations supported by part 139 certified airports or 139 airports that have unscheduled passenger traffic in aircraft capable of carrying more than 31 passengers; yes

Operators of Part 139 airports must provide aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) services during air carrier operations that require a Part 139 certificate. The guidance and resources below address ARFF training, ARFF vehicles, and other aviation fire and rescue requirements.

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    $\begingroup$ Good info but only a partial answer - part 139 regulates the airports but the question is explicitly asking about regs that apply to the airlines. $\endgroup$ Apr 26, 2019 at 16:02
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    $\begingroup$ @pericynthion these regulations do apply to airlines, all airlines flying scheduled operations here in the us are all under part 121 and will need to land at a 139 airport (or the airports they want to land at need to be 139 depending on how you look at it). You need to bounce through some regulations but the chain is direct. However airlines may have op-specs that are more stringent than what the FAA needs. That is the choice of the airline and not a regulation per say. $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Apr 26, 2019 at 16:20
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah I guess the missing link is the reg that says "121 airlines must use 139 airports". I tried (briefly) but failed to find it. $\endgroup$ Apr 26, 2019 at 17:10
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    $\begingroup$ Ah, here it is: law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/121.590 $\endgroup$ Apr 26, 2019 at 17:11

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