How Airports Can Pass the Part 139 Inspection in Flying Colors

January 11, 2021

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Every year, inspectors from the Federation Aviation Administration (FAA) spend a few days or more at more than 550 airports in the U.S that offer significant passenger service. Hence, this is known as a Part 139 inspection. This inspection is so thorough and detailed that even the tiniest violations end up in the final report. 

These inspectors check piles of paperwork, conduct an in-depth interview with each personnel, and scrutinize the airfield. Hence, they look for the tiniest violation from the height of grass to the percentage of runway markings' reflectance. 

This article will review the requirements and stages in a Part 139 inspection and the benefit of part 139 airport software and airfield management software that airport operators can take advantage of.


A review on the Part 139 inspections: everything airport operators must know


To ensure that airports with Airport Operating Certificates meet the requirements of Part 139, nearly 35 FAA Airport Certification Safety Inspectors conduct certification inspections. These inspections typically occur yearly, but the FAA can also make unannounced inspections. Certification inspections include the following steps. 

Inspectors follow stages of inspections to ensure that these airports meet the agency's guidelines and standards. It is also to ensure that airports meet safety regulations for passengers to have a secure airport environment. These are stages and steps that certification inspectors follow: 

  1. The pre-inspection stage

The inspector conducts a pre-inspection to review office airport files and airport certification manual. After, there will be an in-briefing with airport management where they organize the inspection schedule. They also meet with different airport personnel. 


  1. Inspecting essential files and paperwork

The inspectors will conduct an administrative inspection of airport files and other paperwork. It will include updating the Airport Master Record (FAA Form 5010) and reviewing the Airport Certification Manual/Specifications (ACM/ACS), Notices to Airmen (NOTAM), airfield self-inspection forms, and other needed documents. 


  1. Inspecting the crucial areas such as the movement areas, aircraft rescue, fire safety standards, and fuel facilities

After the checking of the documents, there will be a movement area inspection. This stage of the assessment includes checking the approach slopes of each runway and inspecting movement areas to determine the condition of the pavement, markings, lighting, signs, and safety areas. They are also going to check the ground vehicle operations. This crucial part of the inspection will protect the public against inadvertent entry and jet or propeller blast. The inspectors will also check if there are any wildlife in the airfield and the traffic and wind indicators. 

Next, the inspectors will check the airport's aircraft rescue and fire fighting regulations. They will conduct a timed-response drill to check if the personnel are capable and trained in rescue operations during this stage. They will also review aircraft rescue and firefighting training records, including the yearly live-fire drill and necessary emergency medical training documentation. They will also check pieces of equipment and protective clothing and gears for operation, condition, and availability. 

One of the most crucial parts of the inspection is checking the fuel facilities. They will be checking the fuel farm and mobile fuelers and airport files for documentation that they have their fuelling facility inspected quarterly. This stage will also review each tenant fuelling agent's certification regarding the completion of fire safety training. 


  1. Night inspection

Night inspection where the runway/taxiway and the apron lighting and signages, pavement, and airport beacon for the compliance of Part 139. The inspectors conduct this if air carrier operations are conducted or expected to be shown at an airport in the evening, or the airport has an instrument approach.


  1. Post-inspection briefing 

After the inspection, there will be a post-inspection briefing with the airport management to discuss the inspections' findings. They will then issue a Letter of Correction that notes violations and discrepancies, if there are any. There will be an agreement on a date for corrective action of any violations stated in the letter and recommendations to improve airport operations. 


The FAA often imposes an administrative action if the agency sees that an airport does not meet its obligations and the strict standards after the inspection. The agency may charge a financial penalty for each day the airport violates a Part 139 requirement or even revokes its certificate. The AA can also limit the areas where air carriers can land or take off as a penalty. 

Prioritizing overall safety is still the airport’s most important task in Part 139 inspections


Before the inspectors arrive to do their work, it must be an airport operations management's initiative to conduct a self-inspection to pass the inspection. 

According to the FAA, self-inspection should be a primary responsibility of the airport owner, operators, and an authorized representative. It is a must that the person assigned to this job assures that the overall airport ground safety to the airport managers. So, responsible people should focus on items such as pavement markings, safety areas, signs, lighting, aircraft rescue, fire fighting, fuelling operations, navigational aids, ground vehicles, public protection, and wildlife hazard management, and construction. 

Thus, Part 139 airports' responsibility is to draw to the airport operating management to ensure that airport operations run safely. 


Tools like airport software and airfield management software can help you pass the inspection


Today, there are several airport software that airports can take advantage of using. They need a robust Part 139-approved software to aid them with the work to pass this crucial inspection. 

Data management

In the age of digital transformation, it is time for airport operators to invest in modern and robust technology that is cloud-based and can store files locally. 

Whether these documents are electronic or on paper, document management should be a priority when preparing for the dreaded inspection. As the requirements stated, they’ll be checking on important airport documents, manuals, certifications, and forms. These documents contain documentation regarding your airport’s rescue operations preparedness, fire hazards preparedness, and information about your fuel facilities. 

Airfield operations management 

Because Part 139 inspectors emphasize operational efficiency and safety, a Part 139 approved airport software is a must-have. This software can assist operators in airfield inspections, operation logs, asset management, discrepancy tracking, wildlife management, and the most crucial airfield condition reporting. 

Property Management 

An airport software needs to have a property management feature to manage properties, leases, and maintenance to meet Part 139 inspection requirements. Operators need to track essential leases and processes required to ensure that the airport passes the safety standards to pass the Part 139 inspection. A system with this feature can also help operators track discrepancies to fix them before the inspection. 


A Part 139 software like AeroSimple can make a difference


Today, modern and feature-rich Part 139 inspection software is an innovation an airport must invest in. What makes AeroSimple different from other airport software is what you need to meet their Part-139 compliance requirements mandated by the FAA, packaged in one airport operation software. Operators can do their airfield management tasks, document management, and lease management—this Part 139 approved software. So, invest in modern, simplified, and easy-to-use software that makes daily operations in airports more efficient and ultimately making the airport safer and more secure. 


Also, you can try our software first before you decide to make a purchase. Click here for a 60-day full-featured free trial.


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