Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Aeronautics and Aviation

Fly Minnesota!

Picture of an airport from a plane.

Airport Licensing

General Information:

MnDOT has four different types of airport licenses depending on the type of use. The Minnesota Rules that apply to licensing are 8800.1400 through 8800.2300.

A public airport license is issued to owners of airports that meet the minimum safety standards required for the airport to be open to the public.

Public airports intended for use only by aircraft certificated in the light sport category may be licensed as Special Purpose Airports. Special purpose airports have runways shorter than 2,000 feet long, with a minimum runway length of 1,000 feet. Special purpose airports have steeper approach slopes and smaller airport surfaces appropriate to the types of aircraft they are designed to accommodate.

A private airport license allows for the airport owner and others with the prior permission of the owner to use the airport.

Personal Use airports are intended only for personal use by the airport owner. Licensing is not required unless the airport is within five miles of a public airport. FAA and local government requirements apply.

Before acquiring property for the purpose of establishing this airport, Minnesota Statute 360.018 requires that you apply for a certificate of site approval from this office. Please contact us if this applies to your situation and we will assist you in making this application.

If your proposed airport (Public, Private, or Personal Use) is within 35 miles of the city hall of Minneapolis or St. Paul, Minnesota Statute 473.622 requires the approval of the Metropolitan Airports Commission before operating as an airport. If this applies in your situation we can assist you in obtaining this approval as well.

To conduct commercial operations at any airport the operator must have the permission of the airport owner. Commercial operations may be conducted at private airports and personal airports, but the types of operations are limited and for some types of operations the airport must comply with the stricter standards required of public airports.

Airport licenses are issued to airports, heliports and seaplane bases. Each type of airport use and air vehicle has different licensing requirements. For specific requirements see the MnDOT Aeronautics Rules Chapter 8800.

Licenses may be renewed for one year or for three years. The fee is $15 for a one year license and $40 for a three year license. Renewal notices are sent to airport owners the month prior to the expiration date on the airport license.

Licensing Process:

To license an airport in Minnesota:

    • Obtain approval from the property owner to establish the airport.
    • Develop a plan for the airport that will meet the licensing requirements for the type of aircraft and intended use of the airport. Be sure to consider aircraft performance in the airport design.
    • Send an FAA Form 7480 (PDF, 529 KB) and a Landing Area Location Form (airport diagram) to the Great Lakes Region so that they can complete an airspace study for the proposed airport.
    • Contact the local zoning agency to determine if there are any local restrictions and if a conditional use permit is required.
    • Request a site approval from this office.

Once you have met the local requirements, obtained a site approval from MnDOT and received a letter of determination from the FAA, construction may begin. When the airport has been constructed:

    • Submit an Application for New Landing Area Form with an Landing Area Location Form (airport diagram) below and the appropriate annual license fee.
    • Return the completed goldenrod colored FAA Form 5010-5 (Form 5010-3 for public airports) to the FAA so that the airport will be listed in the FAA's database and an airport identifier is issued.

Once the airport has been inspected, and any discrepancies corrected MnDOT will issue an airport license.

Windsocks are provided to public-use airports only. To request a windsock use our on-line windsock order form.


To use the interactive PDF form: download the applicable form by clicking on the link, type in all applicable information, print the form, sign and return by mail.

To use the PDF forms: download the applicable form by clicking on the link, print the form, fill in all applicable information, sign and return by mail.

To use the Word form: download the applicable form by clicking on the link, type in all applicable information, print the form, sign and return by mail.

Forms and questions should be directed to:
Rick Braunig
222 East Plato Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55107-1618
651-234-7230 Direct

Airport Inspections/5010 Program:

The 5010 program is named for the FAA Order that created the Airport Safety Data Program: FAA Order 5010. The Airport Safety Data Program was the primary means for the collection, maintenance, and dissemination of information related to airports.

MnDOT collects and forwards information on Minnesota Airports to the FAA for use in publications such as the Airports Facility Manual. MnDOT collects similar information that we publish in the Airport Directory and Travel Guide. Pilots are required to become familiar with all available information concerning their flights.

These two publications provide pilots with necessary information for planning their flights.

The airport inspections also verify that the airport meets the licensing standards of the state. All airports in Minnesota are required to have an Airport License from the state with two exceptions. Airports owned by the Metropolitan Airports Commission are not required to have a license from MnDOT and personal-use airports that are more than five miles from the nearest public airport are also not required to obtain a license.

The airport licensing standards set minimum requirements to be maintained for the safety of the users and also require that the airport not impose a hazard on adjoining property or its occupants and that the use of the airport will not endanger the user or use of existing surface transportation or power and communication transmission lines. Deficiencies identified during inspections are brought to the attention of the airport manager so that they can be corrected. Public use airports are inspected on a recurring three year basis. List of the latest inspection dates for public use airports (PDF, 67 KB).

The program has changed with the advent of new technologies. The FAA is now moving toward Geographic Informational Systems (GIS) and some fields require special surveys to change, like runway end coordinates. Still, obstruction information and current condition of the airport marking and lighting and airport services, such as types of fuel available are still updated through the inspections referred to as the 5010 Program.