Airport Runway Conditions

Airport Runway Conditions

Airport runway conditions stayed about the same at the nation's major public-use airports (box 2-B) between 1997 and 20041 [1, 2]. At the nation's commercial service airports, pavement in poor condition remained at 2 percent from 1997 through 2004 (figure 2-8). 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 2004, down from 5 percent in 1997 (figure 2-9).

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.2 Runways are in poor condition if there are large open cracks, surface and edge spalling, and/or vegetation growing through cracks and joints [2].


1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, National Planning Division, personal communication, February 2005.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics 2004, table 1-24, available at, as of January 2005.

1 Data on airport runway conditions do not exist for 1994 to 1996 or for 1998.

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