Abilene Regional
Airport Master Plan


Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Airport Master Plan?

An Airport Master Plan establishes the short, intermediate, and long term development goals of the Airport. The Airport Master Plan for Abilene Regional Airport will have a 20-year planning horizon based on an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved aviation activity forecasts and will be developed through a combination of professional evaluation and public involvement. The goal of the Airport Master Plan is to provide guidelines for the Airport’s overall maintenance, development, and operation in an environmentally and fiscally responsible manner for the next 20 years.


What are Aviation Activity Forecasts?

Airport facility planning relies, in part, on a definition of the future aviation activity that may reasonably be expected to occur during the next 20 years. In airport master planning, this involves projecting potential aviation activity for a 20-year timeframe. Aviation demand forecasting for Abilene Regional Airport will consider commercial passenger service projections, based aircraft forecasts, and aircraft operational activity projections. The FAA has oversight responsibility to review and approve aviation forecasts developed in conjunction with airport planning studies. The FAA will review individual airport forecasts with the objective of comparing them to its own Terminal Area Forecasts (TAF) and the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). In addition, aviation activity forecasts may be an important input to future benefit-cost analyses associated with airport development; FAA reviews these analyses when federal funding requests are submitted.


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 the City of Abilene completing an Airport Master Plan?

The FAA recommends that public use airports such as Abilene Regional Airport prepare a new Airport Master Plan every 7-10 years or as local aviation conditions change. The previous Master Plan was completed in 2003. Therefore, the City of Abilene 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?

A team of consultants was selected to undertake the Airport Master Plan study. This team is led by the Garver Aviation Planning Team. Other consultancies supporting the project include Corgan, Quantum Spatial, Leibowitz & Horton, and Dr. Geoffrey D. Hewings.


Who is funding the Airport Master Plan?

The FAA provides 90 percent of the project funding, with the remaining 10 percent coming from local funds. 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.


Who approves the Airport Master Plan?

The Airport Master Plan will be approved by the City of Abilene. Once approved, the Airport Master Plan 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 Airport Master Plan, but is not reflected in the accompanying ALP, will require an ALP update prior to the Board’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 Airport Master Plan 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 formally 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 or Airport Layout Plan (ALP) is implemented.


What is the Master Plan Steering Committee (MPSC)?

The MPSC includes representatives from FAA, airport businesses, tenants, area economic development interests, neighborhood associations, area city governments, and local citizen interest groups that have been selected by the City of Abilene to represent a broad constituency of airport stakeholders. The MPSC will provide guidance and feedback on draft Master Plan documents. MPSC meetings take place at key milestones in the planning process.


How can I get involved and stay informed?

All pertinent Airport Master Plan materials, including draft submissions, are posted to a dedicated Airport Master Plan website: https://abilene.airportplans.com/. Public comments can be submitted on the Airport Master Plan website. In addition, this Airport Master Plan calls for up to 3 public information workshops which will be held during the Airport Master Plan development process. The public information workshop will be advertised locally and on this Airport Master Plan website.


Leibowitz & Horton
Dr. Geoffrey Hewings, PhD