(Download the Stillwater Regional Airport Master Plan FAQs as a PDF)
What is the Stillwater Regional Airport (SWO or the Airport) Master Plan?
Why is the Stillwater Regional Airport preparing an Airport Master Plan?
What is the goal/purpose of the Airport Master Plan?
Why is it important to plan for the future of Stillwater Regional Airport (SWO)?
What are the components of an Airport Master Plan? What is the process?
What happens at the conclusion of the Master Plan?
What is the project schedule? How long will it take?
Who is preparing the Airport Master Plan?
How is public involvement being integrated into the development of the Airport Master Plan?
What can I do to stay informed and provide input?
I’m concerned about noise. How will that be addressed in the Plan?
Who will pay for the projects recommended in the Airport Master Plan?
What is the FAA’s role in the Airport Master Plan process?
Once the Plan is completed, when will improvements be made at the Airport?
Are additional planning studies necessary before beginning a recommended airport improvement project?
What are the different design standards the Airport must consider?
An Airport Master Plan is a comprehensive, airport-wide study with the goal of developing a list of projects to meet future aviation demands over the next 20 years. This Airport Master Plan will be SWO’s first comprehensive planning study update since the 2008 Airport Master Plan.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends that public-use airports prepare a new airport master plan every seven to ten years or as local aviation conditions change. Stillwater Regional Airport initiated this Study to determine future demand, continue safe and efficient operations, address changes in the aviation industry at the local and national levels, and incorporate long-term development of airport and supporting facilities. This Study will update information in the previous Plan and identify possible new projects that will support the Airport’s long-term viability and enhance facility safety, while supporting economic development and the Airport’s commitment to be a good neighbor. Additionally, the FAA requires a current Airport Layout Plan (an output of a Master Plan) for an airport to remain eligible for federal grant funds.
The primary goal of an airport master plan is to provide guidance for future airport development necessary to accommodate forecasted demand. This is accomplished by establishing development parameters and timelines that coincide with effectively satisfying forecasted demand. This Study will recommend future improvements that enhance operational safety, align with the Airport’s goals, and follow federal, state, and local regulatory guidelines. The SWO Airport Master Plan will aid in fiscal responsibility, reactions to industry uncertainties, and balancing Airport improvements with local concerns. The Study will also seek to address:
Operational, maintenance, and improvement considerations
Natural environment and land use compatibility considerations
Factors related to proper financial management enabling the Airport to meet operational and capital improvement fiscal needs.
Stillwater Regional Airport has a significant economic impact and economic contribution to the Stillwater community as well as the statewide economy. The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission’s Oklahoma Aviation & Aerospace Economic Impact Study conducted in 2016 and 2017 demonstrates the significant economic impact the state’s airport system has on each airport community as well as the statewide economy. The study shows that SWO is an important part of the local economy, providing a regional economic impact of approximately $70.4 million annually. This includes support for over 660 direct and indirect jobs associated with airport activities with an annual payroll of more than $26 million. As one of four commercial service airports contributing to the state’s aviation economic impacts, SWO is an important economic asset that needs to be protected. Proper short- and long-term planning ensures this asset will continue to serve the needs of the region.
The Airport Master Plan process is guided by the FAA and ultimately results in projections of future passenger and aviation activity growth and an updated Airport Layout Plan (ALP). The primary components of the Stillwater Regional Airport (SWO) Master Plan are:
Inventory of Existing Conditions – documentation of SWO’s existing assets, facilities, activities, conditions, and environmental resources to establish an informational baseline for the Master Plan Study.
Forecasts of Aviation Activity – development of a series of aviation demand projections to identify growth trends and changing conditions.
Facility Requirements – examination of how well the existing facilities can meet current and projected levels of aviation demand and identification of any deficiencies.
Airport Development Alternatives and Evaluation – development and analysis of alternative solutions to meet defined facility requirements for the 20-year planning period.
Implementation Program – development of a capital improvement plan that identifies funding sources and project sequencing for the short term (1 to 5 years), intermediate term (6 to 10 years), and long term (11 to 20 years).
Airport Layout Plan – updated airport plans showing the location, configuration, and dimensions of all existing and future airport facilities, safety zones, design criteria, imaginary airspace surfaces, airport land uses and property acquisition strategies.
There are several additional components that contribute to the SWO Master Plan study:
Recycling and Solid Waste Management Plan – an assessment of SWO’s current solid waste recycling, reuse, and waste reduction efforts (if any) and program performance, along with development of recycling program recommendations.
Public and Stakeholder Input – local stakeholders will be involved in reviewing alternatives and working papers throughout the planning process and feedback will be reviewed and considered in the development of the final plan. There will also be opportunities for the general public to learn about the master plan, review concepts and recommendations, and provide input.
The process of the SWO Master Plan Study is illustrated below:
It is anticipated that the Final Airport Master Plan will be brought before the Stillwater City Council for adoption in 2023. Once approved, the Airport Master Plan will serve as a policy document that sets forth the conceptual framework for possible future airport development.
The notice to proceed with the project was given in July 2021, which began the investigation phase of the approximately 18-month-long master plan process. The project is scheduled for substantial completion by February 2023 (see project schedule below). Working papers that support the planning process will be developed and released periodically throughout the project. Please refer to the project schedule for approximate timing of working papers and public open house events.
Following a qualifications-based selection process, Mead & Hunt was selected to prepare the SWO Airport Master Plan. Mead & Hunt is an employee-owned firm with over 900 planners, engineers, architects, scientists, and support staff in offices nationwide, including more than 200 aviation professionals. Staff in Mead & Hunt’s Tulsa office are leading the SWO Master Plan study with support from the following firms:
Leibowitz & Horton
The master planning process is, by nature, interactive. A multi-faceted public and stakeholder involvement program is being implemented so that interested parties have opportunities to participate and be heard at key points throughout the course of the study. During the Master Plan process, the Airport will engage the community through a study committee made up of local stakeholders, public open houses, media (newspaper), social media, and the Airport's Master Plan website. Please see the project schedule for approximate timing of the public open house events.
We want to hear from you! Community participation and involvement is a key component of this Plan. Let us know what you think about the future of the Stillwater Regional Airport – send us comments and attend public meetings to learn more about the Airport and the Master Plan. Here’s how you can stay involved in the planning process:
Check out the project website. Find the latest project information as well as background info, the project schedule, engagement opportunities, and public project documents at your fingertips.
Read the draft working papers. Current plan information will be posted on the Master Plan Project Documents page of the Stillwater Regional Airport website throughout the course of the project. Draft working papers will be revised and incorporated into the Final Master Plan.
Follow us on social media. Follow Stillwater Regional Airport on Facebook to see project status updates and information on community engagement events.
Watch for us in the news. We’ll announce public open house meetings through local media outlets.
Attend an open house event. Join us to learn about the project and provide input. See project schedule for timing of these events.
Have questions or comments? Submit your thoughts anytime to the planning team.
While the Airport Master Plan does not constitute a noise study, the potential for changes in the noise environment as a result of various development alternatives will be considered.
The Airport Master Plan is 90 percent funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with a 10 percent local match from the City of Stillwater.
Users of airports, including private pilots and corporate aircraft users, pay for the costs of developing the United States' National Airspace System (NAS) and a portion of public-use airports. Like the national highway system, much of airport infrastructure is paid for with revenues from several aviation-user taxes on items such as airline fares, air freight, and aviation fuel, which are deposited in the federal aviation trust fund for the purpose of improving the nation's aviation infrastructure.
Certain types of planning and development projects at airports that are part of the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) are eligible to receive federal funding from FAA Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants, as well as state funding from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission. As a non-hub airport that is part of the NPIAS, the federal share of AIP-eligible project costs at SWO is 90 percent. The remaining portion generally comes from local matching funds. Ultimately, Stillwater Regional Airport users fund the local share for improvements through rent, fees, fuel sales, and purchases at the Airport.
The FAA has two official roles during the Airport Master Plan study:
FAA reviews and approves the aviation forecasts (the projected growth of aviation activity), including the existing and future critical aircraft using the Airport.
FAA formally approves the Airport Layout Plan (ALP) for airspace and design standards.
Additionally, the FAA serves in a supportive advisory role during preparation of the Draft Airport Master Plan. The FAA may provide comments on the Airport Master Plan’s content, findings, and recommendations, and may offer technical assistance and support. Since the Airport Master Plan is considered a local policy/guidance document, the FAA does not formally approve the Final Airport Master Plan.
An Airport Layout Plan (ALP) serves as the “blueprint” for an airport and shows:
The boundaries and proposed additions to all areas owned or controlled by the sponsor for airport purposes.
The location and nature of existing and proposed airport facilities and structures.
The location on the airport of existing and proposed non-aviation areas and improvements thereon.
The broader term “Airport Layout Plan Drawing Set” is used to describe several pages of drawings that serve as a graphical representation of a wide range of information and details related to airport facilities, proposed development, airspace, land use concerns, and property holdings. ALP drawing sets are prepared in accordance with strict FAA guidelines and require FAA approval.
The final Master Plan will include a list of potential airport improvements based on identified needs and a draft projected schedule for making them, but actual design and construction of improvements will be determined through a future decision-making and public feedback process. Prior to implementing any project, three criteria must be met:
There must be demonstrated demand for the project
Funding must be identified
An environmental review document must be prepared, and clearance obtained.
Yes, additional studies may be necessary before a project depicted on the Master Plan is implemented. FAA’s approval of the ALP signifies only that there are no safety concerns related to the proposed Airport Master Plan and that recommendations generally conform with FAA standards. At a minimum, these usually include National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation, and any other studies needed to satisfy required permit applications.
There are many dimensional criteria standards that apply to airports; however, the primary standards to consider are the:
Runway Safety Area (RSA) – The RSA is the primary safety area surrounding the runway. It enhances the safety of aircraft in the event they undershoot, overrun, or veer off the runway, and it provides greater accessibility for firefighting and rescue equipment during such incidents. The RSA standard is the least flexible.
Runway Object Free Area (ROFA) – The ROFA standard requires clearing the ROFA of any above-ground objects that are non-essential for air navigation or aircraft ground maneuvering purposes.
Runway Protection Zone (RPZ) – The RPZ’s function is to enhance the protection of people and property on the ground.
Content last reviewed 11.8.2021