What is an Airport Master Plan?

As defined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), an airport master plan is a comprehensive study of an airport and usually describes the short-, medium-, and long-term development plans to meet future aviation demand.  Airport master plans serve as facility development guides for a long-range planning horizon (usually 20 to 25 years), and summarize an airport’s strategy for the development of the airport.

The goal of a master plan is to provide the framework needed to guide future airport development that will cost-effectively satisfy aviation demand, while considering potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts.  Master Plans also provide the airport with the tools to react to uncertainties by examining key trends in the aviation industry, such as changing airline business models, improvements in technology, and local/regional economics that could affect airport activity.  Master plans vary in the level of detail and complexity depending on the size, function, issues and challenges of the airports under study.

FAA Advisory Circular 150/5070-6B Airport Master Plans provides guidance for the preparation of airport master plans.

 Read the FAA Advisory Circular (Adobe PDF)

Specific objectives of the Master Plan Update put forth by Denver International Airport (DIA) include the following:

  • Maintain and ensure the safety and security of the Airport
  • Emphasize customer service and satisfaction
  • Plan for phased, incremental development that meets foreseeable aviation demands and maintains flexibility for change
  • Maintain practical and affordable airline costs per passenger
  • Meet sustainability and environmental requirements
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