Rick Husband Airport passes inspection

During a three-day span last month, the Federal Aviation Administration visited Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport (RHAIA) and inspected everything from runway pavement markings to wind cones to fueling facilities.

According to city officials, the airport passed the inspection with no major issues.

The FAA conducts annual inspections of airports under federal law – CFR Part 139/Airport Certification. Some inspections are announced in advance. Some are not.

In simpler terms, the inspection is an annual test of an airport’s operational and safety standards to ensure public safety. It is a test RHAIA has never failed.

“This is an evaluation of the City of Amarillo’s operating certificate for the airport for commercial service,” said City of Amarillo (COA) Assistant Director of Aviation Thomas Oscarsson. “How do we protect the flying public and provide that level of expectation that when you buy a ticket you depart safely and arrive at your location safely?”

The FAA inspection of RHAIA was Aug. 15-17.

“This airport has never not passed an inspection,” said COA Airport Facilities Director Eric Ozier. “The physical inspection includes everything from verifying paperwork and records all the way down to observing conditions on the airfield to paint markings, signs and lights.”

The inspections consist of a simple pass or fail grade.

However, the FAA inspector has the option to list discrepancies and require the airport to remedy the discrepancies by a certain date without penalty.

No discrepancies were found at RHAIA - a significant achievement by the airport staff.

“The Amarillo Fire Department is a major player in this inspection,” Ozier said. “The FAA looks at fueling operations, equipment for airport firefighting and they conduct an unannounced timed (firetruck) response drill.”

The standard at RHAIA is emergency vehicles must be at the midpoint of the furthest runway in three minutes with water accessibility. Additional emergency vehicles must arrive in four minutes. 

“This starts from the time the alert is pulled up to the time emergency vehicles are at the location,” Oscarsson said.

To find out more about Part 139/Airport Certification, go to: 


“This is not like having company come over so you clean your house,” Ozier said. “We should be inspection-ready at any time. This is the standard we apply every day. This is a team effort that includes multiple departments within the airport.”

RHAIA has 71 city employees and three commercial airlines.

“This is a citywide effort,” Oscarsson said. “If we don’t have the support from city leadership we will not be successful.”