The national air transportation exists today primarily through Federal legislation, and every facet is governed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. The FAA classifies the Arlington Municipal Airport as a public-use “reliever” airport in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). The Airport’s function is to relieve air traffic from the commercial service airports, DFW Airport and Love Field. The City has accepted grants from the FAA to fund airport improvements, and the federal government recently funded installation of an advanced approach lighting system, and completed a major upgrade to the Control Tower’s radar and clearance delivery systems. In accepting this funding, the Airport became subject to Federal Grant Assurances. One of these obligations is “To operate the airport for the use and benefit of the public to make it available to all types, kinds, and classes of aeronautical activity on fair and reasonable terms and without unjust discrimination”.

The FAA does not permit any airport to restrict or ban any type or size of aircraft, and does not permit cities to establish curfews of any type without their approval. The FAA exercises control of aircraft noise through noise emission standards, air traffic control, pilot and flight regulations and noise compatibility studies. More information is available on the FAA website at Historically, the FAA has granted permission for curfews (Part 161 Restrictions) at very few public airports across the nation. Listed below are the criteria used by the FAA for evaluation of curfew requests. Please note that the sponsor must “prove up” all six elements:

  1. The restriction is reasonable, nonarbitrary, and nondiscriminatory;
  2. The restriction does not create an undue burden on interstate or foreign commerce;
  3. The proposed restriction maintains safe and efficient use of the navigable airspace;
  4. The proposed restriction does not conflict with any existing Federal statute or regulation;
  5. The applicant has provided adequate opportunity for public comment on the proposed restriction; and
  6. The proposed restriction does not create an undue burden on the national aviation system.

Another source for information is the Legal Information Institute at the Cornell University Law School: