Aviation Departments

Find aviation departments, administrations, and agencies. Aviation departments provide information on civil and private aviation, airports, airlines, flights, regulations, safety, and jobs.

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About Aviation Departments

What is an Aviation Department?

Aviation Departments can be found at the federal level and in each of the fifty states. Aviation Departments are charged with ensuring aviation safety, planning for sufficient airport capacity, and continuously modernizing and maintaining the integrated national aviation system. Some county and local governments also have Aviation Departments. They are primarily responsible for managing and operating any publicly owned airports in their jurisdiction if an airport authority has not yet been established.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is the national Aviation Department. The FAA promotes safety by regulating civil aviation and by making assessments of foreign air carriers' adherence to international safety standards. The FAA operates the national air traffic control system and regulates pilot certification in the U.S. The FAA also manages the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS), which guides federal funding for capital investments in the national network of airports. This funding is distributed to eligible airports through the FAA's Airport Investment Program (AIP).

Aviation Departments at the state level are usually part of the state's Department of Transportation. State Aviation Departments are responsible for updating and maintaining a State Airport System Plan (SASP). These plans assess the current conditions of the airport system within the state and identify the future needs of the system. State plans are incorporated into the FAA's NPIAS and help to determine how AIP funds are awarded. Some states match AIP grants to supplement capital funding to individual airports.

State Aviation Departments inspect and certify public use airports and manage the process of aircraft registration in their states. Some state Aviation Departments provide educational and training programs for pilots, aircraft technicians, and aircraft inspectors. Many state Aviation Departments also maintain and operate a small number of state-owned aircraft. These aircraft are used for emergency response, aerial mapping, and specialized services.