What is Aeronautics?

The mission of the Aeronautics Division is to promote aviation throughout the Commonwealth while establishing an efficient, integrated airport system that enhances airport safety, customer service, economic development, and environmental stewardship.

The mission of the Aeronautics Division is to promote aviation throughout the Commonwealth while establishing an efficient, integrated airport system that enhances airport safety, customer service, economic development, and environmental stewardship.

The Aeronautics Division has jurisdiction over the Commonwealth’s 35 public use airports and multiple heliports, private restricted landing areas, and seaplane bases. This includes all Massachusetts airports except for Logan International Airport, Worcester Regional Airport, and Hanscom Field in Bedford which are owned and operated by the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport).

The division certifies airports and heliports, licenses airport managers, conducts annual airport inspections, and enforces safety and security regulations. The additional responsibilities of the Aeronautics Division include:

  • Overseeing the Statewide Airport Capital Improvement Program,
  • Developing statewide aviation safety programs,
  • Overseeing state-owned navigational aids (NAVAIDS),
  • Conducting statewide aviation planning studies,
  • Implementing statewide airport security initiatives, and
  • Promoting statewide aviation education

COVID-19 Impacts

The pandemic continued to have an impact on the Aeronautics Division and the aviation industry in FY21. There was an initial reduction in the number of flights going in and out of general aviation airports across the state beginning in March 2020 that continued well through the end of FY21, and a slow rebound is projected for general aviation airports over the next 5 years.  While the sector may take five years to recover, industry experts say the pandemic is not unlike other crises. MassDOT has regulatory authority over 35 public use airports and 21 of those airports received airport relief funding from the federal CARES Act. This funding was used for payroll, utilities and maintenance, and operating costs at local airports.