Accredited Airport Executive Program


Becoming an Accredited Airport Executive (A.A.E.) is a great way to command respect in the airport industry. Since 1954, AAAE has been committed to the advancement of aviation professionals by granting the A.A.E. designation to those who have demonstrated their ability to handle the responsibilities of airport management.  The program is open to Affiliate members of AAAE and IAAE. The Accredited Airport Executive (A.A.E.) is a useful credential when seeking employment within the airport management profession. 

Candidates in the A.A.E. program will obtain the designation by completing a three step process - (1) a 180-question, multiple-choice examination; (2) a management research paper, case study, proctored essay examination, or proof of an advanced degree; and (3) a final interview with a panel of A.A.E.s.  You can complete the program in any order, but the final interview must be the final step.  There are no time limits for program completion; however, after five full years in the program, you must pay an administrative fee of $100 annually until the program has been completed.   Should you cancel your enrollment or fail to pay the $100 administrative fee, and wish to resume your program studies at a later date, you will need to pay a $250 re-enrollment fee.  
AAE Program Application
(Adobe PDF File)

*You must be an Affiliate member of AAAE or IAAE to enroll in the Accreditation Program.
Click here to join, if you are not an active Affiliate member.

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What is the Final Interview?
In addition to successfully completing the multiple-choice exam and the writing requirement, candidates are required to complete an oral interview with a panel of executive members (A.A.E.'s) to receive an A.A.E. designation.  The final interview is the third and final step of the accreditation process.  Candidates must have accrued at least three years of full-time public airport management experience before sitting for this interview.  The interview is designed to test a candidate's knowledge in four main areas of airport management:

  • Administration and Finance
  • Operations and Maintenance
  • Legislative Affairs, Marketing and Communications, and Air Service Development
  • Planning, Construction, and Environmental issues

How can I schedule the interview?
After you have successfully completed the multiple-choice examination and the writing requirement, you will be referred to your regional examiner to begin the final interview process. When you and your regional examiner feel that you are prepared, he or she will arrange the time and location with you. Be advised that you should give yourself at least 90 days to study and prepare for the Final Interview.

Who will interview me?
Your regional examiner is responsible for assembling the panel of interviewers, and may chair the session personally (although this is not required). The panel will include at least three Accredited Airport Executive members (A.A.E.’s) who have completed special training to enable them to perform this role.

With a valid reason, you have the right to object to the selection of one panelist. This formal request must be made to the regional examiner at the time the panelists' names are disclosed.

How long does the interview last?
The average length of the final interview is two hours. However, if it becomes evident to the the panelists that the candidate is not well prepared, they will immediately terminate the interview.

Where is the Final Interview held?
The venue is usually selected by the regional examiner on the basis of what is most convenient to the panelists. Candidates may request to sit for the Final Interview at a chapter conference. The Final Interview is also offered at both AAAE's Annual Conference and the National Airports Conference.

What should I expect in the Final Interview?
The format of the final interview is similar to that of a high-level job interview.  Be prepared to frame your answers as if you are the Executive Director at a commercial service airport with a group of panelists asking questions from the four subject matter areas in a round-robin way and assessing your practical knowledge.

How should I prepare myself for the interview?
You should be familiar with AAAE's Body of Knowledge modules, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, and FAA Advisory Circulars. Your AAAE Accreditation Program Study Guide contains a detailed planning guide, and your regional examiner will provide mentoring sessions to also help your prepare for the Final Interview.

When will I know the results of the interview?
You will receive your assessment immediately upon the interview's completion. The panel will terminate the interview if it becomes evident that you are not sufficiently prepared for this final phase of the accreditation process.

What if I don't pass the Final Interview?

If you fail all or part of the final interview, you must retake it to successfully complete the accreditation program and earn the A.A.E. designation. In general, candidates are required to retake only those parts of the final interview which they failed or have not taken.  Candidates have two years from the original date of the interview date to retest on the parts they failed and or did not take.  If the candidate does not complete the parts of the interview within two years, the candidate will be responsible to retest on the entire interview.

Does AAAE offer any service to help me prepare for the Final Interview?

Yes, AAAE, in conjunction with the Southwest Chapter of AAAE offers the Accreditation Final Interview Workshop one time per year at the NAC. Check our Meetings Calendar for upcoming dates.

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