Airport Runway Conditions

Airport Runway Conditions

Airport runway conditions stayed about the same at the nation’s major public-use airports between 1993 and 2003 [1] (box 11-B). At the nation’s commercial service airports, pavement in poor condition declined from 3 percent of runways in 1993 to 2 percent in 2003 (figure 11-8). At the larger group of National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) airports, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found poor conditions on 4 percent of runways in 2003, down from 7 percent in 1993 (figure 11-9).

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].


1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics 2002, table 1-24 revised, available at, as of February 2004.

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