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Airport Runway Conditions

Airport Runway Conditions

Airport runway conditions improved at the nation’s major public-use airports between 1990 and 2001 [1]. At the nation’s commercial service airports, pavement in poor condition declined from 5 percent of runways in 1990 to 2 percent in 2001 (figure 88). At the larger group of National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) airports, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found poor conditions on 5 percent of runways in 2001, down from 10 percent in 1990 (figure 89).

FAA inspects runways at public-use airports and classifies runway condition as good, fair, or poor. A runway is classified as good if all cracks and joints are sealed. Fair condition means there is mild surface cracking, unsealed joints, and slab edge spalling.1 Runways are in poor condition if there are large open cracks, surface and edge spalling, and/or vegetation growing through cracks and joints [1].

See box for Classification of Airports in the United States


1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) (2001–2005) (Washington, DC: 2002).

1 Spalling refers to chips, scales, or slabs breaking off of surface pavement.

Updated: Saturday, May 20, 2017