What are the specific objectives of the Airport Master Plan? 

  • To research and evaluate socioeconomic factors likely to affect the air transportation demand in the region.
  • To determine the projected facility needs of airport users through the year 2038, by which to support airport development alternatives.
  • To recommend improvements that will enhance the airport’s safety capabilities to the maximum extent possible.
  • To recommend improvements that will enhance airport capacity to the maximum extent.
  • To produce current and accurate airport base maps and Airport Layout Plan drawings.
  • To establish a schedule of development priorities and a program for the improvements proposed in the Master Plan.
  • To prioritize the airport capital improvement program and develop a detailed financial plan.
  • To develop a robust and productive public involvement throughout the planning process.
  • To conduct an aeronautical survey that is compliant with Federal Aviation Administration Airport (FAA) Geographic Information System (AGIS) standards and includes airspace and obstruction information submitted to and approved by the FAA.
  • To prepare a Wildlife Hazard Management Plan (WHMP) in accordance with Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 139.337 and that is based upon the airport’s approved Wildlife Hazard Assessment completed in June 2016.

What is an Airport Layout Plan (ALP)?

The ALP is an important component of the Airport Master Plan and will reflect the actual and/or planned modifications to the Airport.  FAA approval of the ALP indicates that the existing facilities and proposed development depicted on the ALP conforms to the FAA airport design standards and that the FAA finds the proposed development to be safe and efficient.

An ALP can be described as one big “blueprint.”  It is a single, two-dimensional plan-view drawing of an airport that shows existing and proposed airport facilities.  Additional pages of drawings in the ALP set may include: Terminal/Building Area Plans, Airspace Plans, Property Maps, and on-airport Land Use Maps.

The ALP is the major product of the Airport Master Plan which contains information used by the FAA to program future funding assistance and to monitor an airport’s compliance with design standards and grant assurances.  It also allows the FAA to anticipate budgetary and procedural needs and to protect the airspace required for facility or aircraft approach procedure improvements.

Why is Chandler Municipal Airport completing an Airport Master Plan?

The FAA recommends that public use airports prepare a new Airport Master Plan every 7-10 years or as local aviation conditions change.  The previous Master Plan was completed in 2007.  Therefore, the City of Chandler has initiated this Airport Master Plan to ensure the airport continues to be operated in a safe and efficient manner and to address any changes in the aviation industry both locally and nationally.

Who is preparing the Airport Master Plan?

Following a qualifications-based selection process, Coffman Associates, Inc. [link to company website] was selected to undertake the Airport Master Plan study.  Coffman Associates is a national aviation consulting firm specializing in airport planning studies.  Coffman Associates will lead the project with support from the following firms:

  • Dibble Engineering | Engineering support primarily to offer estimates of probable costs;
  • Makpro Services | Public outreach and coordination;
  • SWCA | Environmental evaluation and surveys;
  • Woolpert | Aerial photography, ground survey, and GIS products to meet FAA requirements for Airports GIS data submittal.
  • Quest Energy  | Conducting an energy audit and making recommendations to improve energy efficiency.

Who is funding the Airport Master Plan?

The FAA provides 91.06 percent of the project funding, with the remaining 8.94 percent coming from ADOT and the City of Chandler.  The FAA funding is sourced from the Aviation Trust Fund, which is funded exclusively by various aviation user fees, including taxes on airline tickets, aviation fuel, and some aircraft parts.

What would be the Environmental Review Process for the Airport Master Plan?

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)

  • The FAA is the lead agency for purposes of NEPA.
  • The environmental consultant will prepare an Environmental Overview that considers environmental resources defined in FAA Order 5050.4B, Airport Environmental Handbook. The Environmental Overview will identify components of the Airport Master Plan that may require further NEPA analysis and will be included as an appendix to the Airport Master Plan.
  • After taking into consideration the Environmental Overview, the FAA will determine the level of environmental review required for future projects identified in the Airport Master Plan, i.e., an Environmental Assessment/Finding of No Significant Impact or Environmental Impact Statement.

Who approves the Airport Master Plan?

The Airport Master Plan will be approved by the City of Chandler. Once the City has approved the Airport Master Plan, it can be used as a policy document that sets forth the conceptual framework for possible future airport development.  However, any actual or planned modifications to the airport that is reflected in the plan, but is not reflected in the accompanying ALP, will require an ALP update prior to the City’s examination of any proposed development item.

What is the FAA’s role in the Airport Master Plan?

The FAA has two official roles during the study:

  • FAA reviews and approves the aviation forecasts (the projected growth of airport services) that will be prepared as part of the master plan process; and
  • FAA reviews and approves the ALP for airspace and design standards.

In addition, the FAA has a supportive and advisory role during the preparation of the Airport Master Plan. The FAA may provide comments on Airport Master Plan findings, recommendations and deliverables, and may offer technical assistance and support. The FAA does not formally approve the Airport Master Plan since it is considered a local policy or guidance document.

Are Additional Studies Needed Before the Airport Proceeds with a Recommended Construction Project?

Yes.  Approval by the FAA of the ALP means only that there are no safety concerns related to the proposed Airport Master Plan and that the depiction is in general conformance with FAA standards.  Additional studies may be necessary before a project depicted on the Master Plan is implemented.  At a minimum, these usually include NEPA documentation (as discussed in the FAQ above), and any other studies needed to satisfy required permit applications.

The alternatives are good and will add value, but how will cost be addressed?

The next phase of the master plan will further address costs associated with improvements. It is also important to note that many Airport capital improvement (construction) projects are eligible for substantial grant funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), but must be identified in the Airport Master Plan first. Additionally, many of the landside improvements shown on the alternatives, such as new hangars, are typically funded by private developers who lease property from the Airport.

Why is it important to extend the runway?

The master plan process looks to improve functionality and safety, and add value to the Airport’s operations. This includes evaluating all viable alternatives. Currently, aircraft that use the Airport in cooler months cannot operate as efficiently, or in some cases not at all, during the hotter months due to the runway length. A runway extension will improve operational efficiency for current and future aircraft, and will also broaden the Airport’s potential clientele, increasing revenues and making it more financially sustainable. The current Airport Layout Plan shows a maximum runway length of 5,550 feet, which cannot be any longer due to physical restrictions imposed by surrounding development. Even at this maximum length, the runway would be too short for commercial passenger service or most large jets. Rather, a runway extension would open the Airport to additional smaller, business-class jets. The current Chandler City Code also requires a bond election vote by the citizens in order to extend the runway.

Aircraft noise is a concern if the runway is extended, how is it going to be addressed, specifically along Gilbert Rd?

The runway extension shown in Alternative 2 maintains appropriate safety buffers with Gilbert Road. Noise impacts of the runway extension will also be evaluated in the next phase of the master plan.

Alternative 2 offers a runway extension as opposed to Alternative 1. If the runway is extended, will it be funded through local taxes?

Alternative 1 does not include a runway extension, so it will ultimately be insufficient to handle general aviation traffic and reduce the Airport’s ability to maintain financial sustainability. The cost of a runway extension (Alternative 2) would be eligible for funding through the federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which is funded by aviation user fees (aircraft registrations, airline ticket sales, etc). The AIP program funds up to 90% of a project with the remaining 10% funded by a combination of ADOT grant funds and Airport funds, which are generated by Airport revenues. At this time there is no plan to increase local taxes to pay for Airport improvements.

Does the Chandler Airport add value and bring in revenue?

The Airport generates almost $110 million in total economic activity each year. In fact, the Airport anchors the Chandler Airpark, a nine-square-mile employment hub. Several nationally and internationally recognized companies have established offices in the Airpark Area in recent years, bringing thousands of new jobs to the area. The City is looking at ways to continue to improve operations and add value to the community. The master plan is an important part of that process. Improving the Airport will allow it to generate more revenue and serve users that will drive additional economic growth within the community.

Does the Chandler Airport have the authority to alter the flight paths for jets?

Once an aircraft departs the runway, it and its flight path are no longer under the jurisdiction of the Airport but is within the jurisdiction of the FAA. The City has no authority to alter flight paths to/from the Airport and the flight patterns follow nationally-established procedures.

Will extending the runway accommodate larger aircraft and jets?

Jets are already operating at Chandler Airport. An extension to the runway will allow aircraft to operate consistently on a year-round basis. Furthermore, the Airport is limited to small aircraft sizes because Chandler’s infrastructure is designed for aircraft in the small A and B design categories as defined by the FAA. These planes are typically single or twin engine piston-driven or turboprop aircraft and small corporate jets. The larger commercial/airline aircraft (C and D categories) are well served at neighboring airports such as Phoenix Mesa Gateway that are specifically designed for such aircraft. There is currently no plan, nor will there ever be sufficient runway length even at maximum buildout, for commercial passenger airplanes and large jets to operate at Chandler Airport.

What will happen to the helicopter operations on taxiway “C” if the development of the south side takes place? Will fix wing aircraft be able to use taxiway “C”?

Fixed-wing aircraft can already use Taxiway C. There are no plans to displace helicopter operations on the south side of the airfield.

Are there safety and fire prevention requirements when it comes to adding additional fuel?

As a general aviation airport, there is no requirement for on-site firefighting facilities/equipment. Any new fueling facilities will be required to meet appropriate fire code and spill prevention/containment standards.

There is a demand for more hangars and there is currently a wait list. Is the option of more hangars being taken into consideration?

The master plan takes into account the existing demand for hangars and identifies areas for future hangar development. The timing of hangar development will depend on interest from private developers.

There seems to be some land available in the vicinity of the Airport. Will the land be sold to developers or is it on a lease?

There is currently approximately 80 acres of undeveloped land owned by the City on the Airport property that could be leased to developers for construction of new aeronautical facilities, including hangars and aviation-related businesses. Beyond that, just south of the Airport along the north side of Queen Creek Road, are several properties located outside the Airport property line that are owned by private parties and could be developed consistent with the City’s voter-approved General Plan.

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