On March 3, 2005, U.S. Representative Stevan Pearce introduced H.R. 1117 to amend the airport improvement program grant assurances to require that an airport operator granting a lease for hangar construction agree to a 75-year long term lease. H.R. 1117 was referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and subsequently referred to the Subcommittee on Aviation.
Back in August, 2004, the FAA published a notice to add the assurance requiring that an airport operator who agrees to allow an aircraft owner to construct a hangar will grant the aircraft owner a long-term lease for the hangar that is subject to such terms and conditions on the hangar as the airport owner or operator may impose. The amendment proposed in H.R. 1117 will benefit a hangar owner by giving him or her a longer period of time within which to amortize and recoup the investment in the hangar.
If this legislation passes, this could potentially obligate an airport operator to keep the airport open longer than the current 20-year assurance. To avoid this effect, the airport operator would probably need to have additional language in the lease allowing for earlier termination. However, since this would clearly be contrary to the 75-year language, it would be interesting to see whether such language could be enforced.