Reviewed Date: 08/14/2023
Restrictions on Charges for Use of Airports
A city or airport authority may not require payment of a license fee, tax, or other charge for any public use (landing or taking off) of an airport by planes weighing up to 12,500 pounds unless the aircraft is used by "regularly scheduled aeronautics." However, a charge may be made for storing aircraft overnight, and a tax or fee may be collected for selling aviation fuel. Metropolitan airport authorities are exempted from this law, and the Department of Transportation may exempt others "for good cause shown". T.C.A. § 42-2-107.
Disposing of Airport Property
Unless there are specific limitations included in grant or loan agreements, a city must sell or lease an airport or any portion of it in accordance with state laws or the city charter. If the facility is transferred to another governmental unit, however, disposal is on terms that are in the city’s best interests. T.C.A. § 42-5-109.
When a city acquires or establishes an airport, the local governing body may adopt ordinances and regulations to manage the facility and establish penalties for violations whether or not the airport is within the city’s boundaries. The city also may appoint airport guards with full police powers to enforce its regulations. The airport is under the full control of the owner-city, but regulations adopted by the city must conform to state and federal laws and standards. An airport outside a city in Davidson, Shelby, Hamilton, and Sullivan counties is not subject to taxation by the jurisdiction in which it is located. T.C.A. § 42-5-113.
Civil Air Patrol
Civil Air Patrol activities are in the public interest, and cities may appropriate funds for them. T.C.A. § 42-7-101.
Any city receiving state funds for its aviation program must allow the state Department of Transportation to audit municipal books to assure the money is being used properly. Refusal to permit such an audit or misuse of aviation program funds may result in withholding of state funds. T.C.A. § 42-2-222.