Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport
711 Rio Grande Ave.
Gunnison, CO 81230
(970) 641-2304






Frequently Asked Questions


What is an airport master plan?

An Airport Master Plan is a comprehensive study that is used to determine the development plans of an airport. The Airport Master Plan acts as guidance in planning future airport facilities over a 20-year period. It considers future aviation demand, available funding, environmental components and airport needs that are associated with current demand as well as future growth.

What is the goal or purpose of an airport master plan?

The primary goal of an airport master plan is to provide guidance for future airport development. Secondarily, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires a current airport master plan for the airport to remain eligible for federal grant funds. Master plans establish a set of development parameters and timelines that coincide with effectively satisfying forecast demand. While master plans vary in complexity, they aid in fiscal responsibility, reaction to industry uncertainties, and balancing airport improvements with local concerns.

What are the components of an Airport Master Plan?

Airport master plan components are established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport Master Plan will include the following:

 The completion of the master planning process will result in the following two products.

  1. Airport Layout Plan (ALP) - A set of plans that graphically depicts the phased development of the airport in accordance with federal airport operating and design standards. (Also see “What is an ALP?”)

  2. Airport Master Plan Report - A written report which provides narrative descriptions and graphic presentation of the components of the master plan and ALP in a technically justified manner.

What is an Airport Layout Plan (ALP)?

An ALP is a specific drawing that focuses on proposed improvements. It depicts features unique to the airport as well as various construction projects and future plans, like a blue print. 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. Drawing sets are prepared in accordance with strict Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines.

Why is the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport Master Plan being updated?

Updates are necessary due to the dynamic nature of the aviation industry and the airport’s community concerns. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends updating airport master plans every 10 years. The latest Airport Master Plan was completed in 2004. Master plan updates are a platform for safe and efficient operations, while also addressing airport improvement needs and community concerns.  Airport user and community needs will be considered and solutions implemented as feasible.

Who is involved in the Airport Master Plan process?

Community participation and input is at the center of this Master Plan. A public involvement process is being conducted that considers public input and continues to improve the public relationship. Parties such as airport users, tenants, local businesses, residents from the surrounding communities, and local representatives are included in the process. It is important that each party provides input so that the Master Plan may be developed responsively. A Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) has been established to help guide the direction of the Master Plan and offer feedback at critical points on elements within the plan as it is developed. Additional information on the PAC may be found here.

What are the key issues for this Airport Master Plan?

Key issues for this Master Plan include:

Will the Airport Master Plan consider sustainability opportunities?

Gunnison is a popular outdoor recreation destination. The town and airport are committed to a sustainable future to secure the area’s resources. Decisions will be made to minimize negative environmental and social impacts, respect nature and the well-being of the airport’s surroundings. Working towards sustainability is a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment while providing good function and service at the airport.

What is the project schedule?

Development of the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport Master Plan is expected to take 15 months. Development of aviation demand forecasts, the development of alternative strategies, and finalization of the Master Plan are major milestones during this time. Formal adoption of the Airport Layout Plan (ALP) is anticipated in late summer of 2015. The complete project schedule is located here.

What is the approval process?

An airport master plan, including the Airport Layout Plan (ALP), is produced following Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines and regulations found in FAA Advisory Circular 150/5070-6, Airport Master Plans. Approval of the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport Master Plan and Airport Layout Plan is obtained from the City of Gunnison, the airport sponsor, or owner. The FAA does not technically approve the master plan text but “accepts” it and does ultimately approve the ALP drawing, indicating acceptance of the plan with respect to safety, efficiency, and utility of the airport. Additional approvals and steps are necessary before a project can move forward to the design and construction phases.

Local entities, such as Gunnison County and the City of Gunnison, are encouraged to incorporate the approved plan into local planning.

What are the planned outreach methods?

The master planning process is, by nature, interactive. A multi-faceted public and stakeholder involvement program is being implemented so that interested parties will have an opportunity to participate at various points throughout the course of the study. During the update of the master plan the airport will be engaging the community at open houses; through tenant and user surveys; the website; and through the Planning Advisory Committee (PAC). Please see the project schedule for approximate timing of these events.

Who will pay for the projects recommended in the Airport Master Plan?

Users of our air transportation system (including people shipping packages, private pilots, airline passengers and corporate aircraft users) pay for the costs of developing the United States’ National Airspace System and a portion of public use airports. Similar to the national highway system, much of airports’ infrastructure is paid for with user taxes on airline tickets, air freight, and aviation fuels.

Typically, federal funding is provided by the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and state funding from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Division of Aeronautics. AIP funds are derived from taxes on national and international travel, air cargo taxes, and noncommercial aviation fuel which are deposited in the federal aviation trust fund for the purpose of improving the nation’s aviation infrastructure. Ultimately, the airport users fund the local share for improvements through rent, fees, and purchases at the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport.

How can I follow or participate in the study process?

The simplest way is through this website. A key objective is for the community to take ownership of this initiative. Here, you can review the latest information and share your comments on the Comments page. Public meetings will be announced in advance of meeting dates. Important dates, meetings, conclusions, and project status/updates will be posted on this website.

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