airport seating
NASAO invests some $3 billion annually in more than 5,000 airports nationwide that are vital to general and business aviation. (Photo by Suganth on Unsplash)

National Association of State Aviation Officials

What It Is: A 501(c)6 nonprofit, NASAO (National Association of State Aviation Officials) represents government officials charged with stewardship of aviation infrastructure and resources in all 50 U.S. states, plus Guam and Puerto Rico. Its members organize, promote, and fund a wide variety of aviation programs, investing some $3 billion annually in more than 5,000 airports nationwide that are vital to general and business aviation.

How It Grew: The states organized NASAO in 1931 to create uniform aviation standards in the absence of federal oversight.Once Congress established the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB, predecessor to the FAA) in 1939, NASAO facilitated and coordinated dialogue among state aviation agencies, the CAB, and other federal policymakers and elected officials. In 1986, the nonprofit NASAO Center for Aviation Research and Education was created to enhance air transport safety. After Congress made the state block-grant program permanent in 1996, NASAO played a crucial role in helping states maximize the impact of their Airport Improvement Program funds, which are earmarked for non-primary (general and business aviation) airports. Since 1997, NASAO has partnered with the FAA to promote aviation learning activities within states through the agency’s Aviation Education Outreach Initiative.

What It Offers:

Committees. Standing committees stage influential forums addressing issues such as airport improvements, NextGen, UAS, security, certification, and federal and international aviation affairs.

Advocacy. NASAO develops legislative agendas for members and is a founding member of the Alliance for Aviation Across America, which promotes airspace access for all. NASAO also authors position papers on critical issues and creates partnership through MOUs to advance aviation.

Education. The organization provides online training programs, promotes education efforts at state levels through the Center for Aviation Research, hosts webinars, and awards a collegiate scholarship for aviation education.

MOUs. NASAO partners with federal, state, and private entities to address aviation issues. Currently 19 memorandums of understanding are in effect. 

Notable Achievements: The organization pioneered the development of national aviation standards before the establishment of federal aviation agencies and created the framework for interaction between states and the federal government in setting aviation policy. 

Recent News: Last November, NASAO launched a seven-module online training course for state aviation employees. In February, it endorsed the Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2019, aimed at shielding FAA personnel and programs from government shutdowns.


Founded: 1931

HQ: Washington, D.C.

President and CEO: Shelly Simi