Frequently Asked Questions


How does the airport planning process work?
The FAA is responsible for developing and publishing the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) that lists public-use airports considered to be in the national interest and thus are eligible to receive federal funding. This list includes the Willow Run Airport.

At the state level, organizations such as the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will prepare state aviation system plans that list airports meeting state air transportation goals and identify any new airports that may be needed to meet future aviation demand. This information is used by the FAA to identify airports that should be included in the NPIAS.

Owners and operators of airports will develop master plans that focus on the planning at the local level which is typically in greater detail than provided by state aviation system plans.

What is an Airport Layout Plan (ALP)?
The ALP is an important component of the Willow Run Airport Master Plan Study Update. It will reflect the actual and planned modifications to the Airport. The FAA must approve the ALP indicating that the existing facilities and proposed development conforms to FAA airport design standards and is safe and efficient.

The ALP is a two-dimensional plan or drawing that shows the existing and proposed airport facilities. The plan also shows drawings of the Terminal/Building Area Plans, Airspace Plans, Property Maps and Airport Land Use Maps. The ALP is the most important product of the Master Plan Study Update. The information generated from the ALP is used by the FAA to determine future funding and to monitor an airport’s compliance with design standards. It also allows the FAA to anticipate budgetary and procedural needs and to protect the airspace required for facility or airport approach procedure improvements.

Who approves the Airport Master Plan Study Update?
The Willow Run Airport Master Plan Study Update will be approved by the Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA). Once the plan is approved by WCAA, the Willow Run Airport Master Plan Study Update can be used as a policy document that can be used for future development at the Airport.

What is the FAA’s role in the Master Plan Study Update?
The FAA has two official roles in the Airport Master Plan Study Update:

  • FAA reviews and approves the aviation forecasts that are prepared during the Study by the consultant team and Willow Run staff.
  • FAA formally approves the ALP for airspace and design standards.

In addition, the FAA has a supportive and advisory role during the Study process and actively participates on the Technical and Citizen Advisory Committees providing comments, recommendations, technical assistance and support. The FAA does not formally approve the Airport Master Plan Study Update since it is considered a local policy document.

What is the airport’s development process?
The development process at an airport begins with the airport master plan and with the graphical depiction of future development on the ALP. With local, state, and federal approval of the ALP, an airport may begin development of the projects depicted on the ALP. Projects that are eligible for state and/or federal funding are completed based on their inclusion in an approved Airport Capital Improvement Program (ACIP) which is updated each fiscal year.

Based on the scope of a project, an environmental review may also be needed that could range from a categorical exclusion checklist, an environmental assessment, or an environmental impact statement. Approval of the appropriate environmental documentation is required before a project can begin.

Was the public involved with the Willow Run Airport Master Plan Study Update?
Yes. Public input was one of the most important components of the Willow Run Master Plan Study Update. Willow Run Airport and the WCAA strives to continue developing and improving its relationship with the community. The public outreach process for the Willow Run Master Plan Study Update offered many opportunities for people interested in the study process to give their input, voice their concerns, ask questions and become informed. Throughout the study process and after its completion this website will be available for public comments or questions. Although the Airport is responsible for all development decisions, public comment before and after the project is important.

Is Airport development funded with taxpayer’s money?
Users of the air transportation system (including for the shipment of packages, recreational aviation, commercial airline operations, and charter / air taxi operations) pay for the cost to develop the National Airspace System (NAS) and a portion of public use airports. Similar to the national highway system, much of airport infrastructure is paid for by taxes on aviation fuels and airline tickets.

Typically, federal funding for airport infrastructure projects is provided by the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) which is supported by airline ticket fees, fuel taxes, and other similar revenue sources deposited in a federal aviation trust fund. Currently, AIP funds account for 90 percent of the cost of most eligible projects at airports such as the Willow Run Airport. The remaining 10 percent of the cost of an eligible project is typically divided between state and local funds which, in most cases, is a 5 percent contribution.