Revenue and Financing Alternatives for Medium and Small U.S. Airports in an Evolving Aviation Landscape

U.S. airports generate significant economic benefits for their surrounding communities that often do not result in revenues to the airports. Medium and small airports in the United States typically rely on federal funding and conventional revenue models that may no longer be sufficient to support necessary maintenance and expansion, and they need to supplement their incomes. At the same time, the industry is evolving rapidly, creating new opportunities and challenges. The identification and generation of airport revenue streams and financing are essential to maintain fiscal responsibility and realize future growth of the airports and the communities they serve.  The objectives of this research are (1) create a guide and database for U.S.-based medium, small, and non-hub commercial service airports (see Special Note A) to increase and diversify revenue streams from existing and new sources; and (2) provide models for leveraging revenue sources to increase capital financing opportunities. The final deliverables should include case studies about relevant revenue opportunities, successful and unsuccessful, as well as best practices from domestic and international airport industries and from outside the aviation industry. Additional revenue streams could include but are not limited to: (1) Benefits and/or losses of choosing to insource vs. outsource; (2) Leveraging new technologies; (3) Additional local, municipal, state, and federal funding; (4) Alternative concessions models; (5) Ancillary amenities; (6) Realizing fair-market value and/or additional development of real estate; and (7) Realizing value of existing contracts. The guide should include at a minimum: (1) A summary of current practices that defines the scale of the national issue and discusses traditional revenue streams; (2) A synopsis of traditional and novel capital financing options; (3) A discussion on airport management best practices for revenue loss prevention; (4) A minimum of five case studies that successfully leverage enhanced revenue to finance capital improvement; and (5) Tools for validating revenue from existing contracts (third party verification, utilizing available data sources, etc.)  The database of revenue enhancement initiatives should include at a minimum: (1) Key characteristics and profile of the airport and partners involved in the initiative; (2) The potential financial benefit including costs incurred; (3) Key considerations and necessary criteria for implementing each initiative; and (4) Examples of how the revenue enhancements led to financing capital improvements.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $350000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 01-56

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591
  • Project Managers:

    Griffin, Matthew

  • Performing Organizations:

    Aviation Planning Group LLC

    New York, NY  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Whitfield, Leah

  • Start Date: 20240522
  • Expected Completion Date: 20250622
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01889755
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 01-56
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Aug 8 2023 6:57AM