Regulatory Relief

Since taking office, President Trump has focused on reducing the cost of regulations on industry, including reexamining existing federal mandates, preventing additional unnecessary regulations from being promulgated, and streamlining federal environmental reviews and approvals. AAAE and its members have sought to ensure the Administration’s deregulatory agenda has a positive impact on the airport community by providing regulatory relief and empowering industry leaders in the management of their airports.


Over the past few years, President Trump has issued a number of presidential directives to ensure that each federal agency, including Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), is evaluating and reducing existing regulatory burdens imposed on industry and not promulgating future costly mandates. The following includes highlights from these initiatives.

President’s Deregulatory Initiatives: In early 2017, the President issued guidance requiring all federal agencies to repeal two regulations for every new regulation proposed. The President also ordered that the total incremental cost of all new regulations, including repealed regulations, should be no greater than zero, unless otherwise required by law or by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The President signed another executive order establishing a Regulatory Reform Task Force at each federal agency.

Streamlining Environmental Reviews: President Trump has directed federal agencies to streamline federal environmental reviews and permitting approvals for infrastructure development, including improving coordination between reviewing agencies and establishing a two-year goal for processing environmental documents on major projects.

Agency Guidance Review: The Administration has focused its attention on agency guidance in 2019. In February, the DOT solicited feedback from the public on all existing DOT and FAA guidance to determine if there were good candidates for repeal or revision. In April, the White House directed a memorandum to all federal agencies, clarifying that any guidance documents must be subjected to a benefit-cost analysis and sent to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a sub-agency within the Executive Office of the President, prior to being released to the public. This change is expected to bring increased scrutiny to DOT and FAA advisory materials that seek to impose new requirements on airports by circumventing the formal notice-and-comment rulemaking process.

AAAE has been urging the DOT and FAA to adopt common-sense regulatory reform for airports. AAAE worked diligently in coordination with ACI-NA to develop and release a joint airport regulatory reform priority list which included proposed changes in the areas of non-aeronautical land development, non-airfield facilities, airport business practices, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews, passenger facility charges (PFC), and the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). In August 2018, AAAE provided the Council on Environmental Quality with recommendations on improving accountability, timelines, and transparency in the NEPA review process.

AAAE Views

• AAAE believes the FAA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) should not impose any regulations on airports without proceeding through the normal rulemaking process, which requires the agency to analyze the cost-benefits of a proposal and potential alternative means of compliance.

• AAAE supports the reduction of unnecessary regulatory burdens, streamlining processes, and empowering airports to operate in a more business-like fashion. This would accelerate infrastructure development and enable more efficient operations, benefiting all aviation users and the traveling public.

Related Information

• AAAE/ACI-NA’s airport regulatory reform priorities and proposals, which were submitted to the White House, can be viewed here.

• AAAE’s recommendations to the Council on Environmental Quality for improving the NEPA review process can be viewed here.


Melissa Sabatine
Sr. Vice President, Regulatory & International Affairs
(703) 578-2502

Justin Barkowski
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs
(703) 797-2538