U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION

ORDER
JO 7400.2K
Effective Date:
April 3, 2014
 
     

Subject:  Procedures for Handling Airspace Matters

 

Chapter 12. Airport Determinations

Section 1. General

12-1-1. RESPONSIBILITY

The Airports Office is responsible for formulating and issuing the official determination. That determination must incorporate the division's responses and other pertinent issues. If the official determination differs from the responses as a result of the airspace coordination, the Airports Office must obtain a concurrence from the appropriate, responsible FPT, air traffic, technical operations services, and Flight Standards offices. The Airports Office must also assure that each determination issued conforms to established policy, procedures, and guidelines. Controversial proposals may require special handling, but no determination must be issued which would be contrary to agency policy until the matter has been coordinated with and approved by the Associate Administrator for Airports, and the Vice President, Mission Support Services.

12-1-2. TERMINOLOGY

The following terminology must be used in FAA determinations:

a. Part 157 Airports.

1. “No Objection" to the proposal - A “no objection" determination concludes that the proposal will not adversely affect the safe and efficient use of airspace by aircraft and will not adversely affect the people or property on the ground.

2. “Conditional No Objection" to the proposal - A “conditional no objection" determination concludes the proposal will not adversely affect the safe and efficient use of navigable airspace by aircraft provided certain conditions are met (specify the conditions).

3. “Objection" to the proposal - An “objection" determination will specify the FAA's reasons for issuing such a determination.

b. ALP. An ALP is a graphic depiction of the existing and future airport facilities showing the clearance and dimensional requirements to meet applicable standards. The ALP serves as a record of aeronautical requirements and is used by the FAA in its review of proposals that may affect the navigable airspace or other missions of the FAA.

1. Approved. An approved ALP is one that has met all the applicable requirements as set forth in the appropriate FAA documents. In order for an ALP to be unconditionally approved, the appropriate FAA offices must have reviewed and approved the location, type, and dimension of all proposed development. In addition, all proposed development must have been subject to the appropriate environmental processing and have written approval by the FAA.

2. Conditional Approval. The conditional approval of an ALP is one that has met all the applicable requirements. An ALP that has been conditionally approved is one where the proposed development has received conceptual approval by the appropriate FAA office. The proposed development has not received approval as to the final location, type, and dimension of all proposed development. New structures would require the submission of FAA Form 7460-1. In addition, where the appropriate environmental processing has not occurred, a conditional ALP approval would be required.

12-1-3. CONDITIONAL DETERMINATIONS

When the airport study results in a conditional determination, then clearly set forth the conditions in the determinations to avoid any misunderstanding.

a. IFR/VFR Status. If the intent of a conditional determination is to restrict or defer the establishment of an instrument approach procedure because of conflict with other IFR procedures in a particular area or to restrict aircraft operations to VFR weather conditions, then these conditions should be clearly defined in the determination to avoid possible misunderstanding. For example, the phrase “VFR operations only" should not be used when the intent is to restrict the establishment of an instrument approach procedure but not necessarily restrict IFR departures. If the intent is to restrict all IFR operations, the determination should identify specific weather conditions rather than relate to VFR operations, or it should be written to specifically prohibit IFR operations.

b. Traffic Patterns. If there is a need to establish specific airport traffic patterns to ensure compatibility of aircraft operations with adjacent airports, or for other reasons, set forth the specific traffic pattern requirement as a condition.

c. Runway Thresholds. When the determination concerns a proposed runway construction, and existing objects will obstruct the airspace needed for arrivals or departures, and if the obstructions cannot be removed or mitigated due to lack of control by the airport sponsor or other compelling reasons, the conditions can stipulate displacement of the runway threshold or changing the location of the runway end to provide clearance over the obstructions. If you use this condition, ensure that the remaining runway length is sufficient to safely accommodate the most critical aircraft expected to use the runway. Perhaps it may be feasible, or more desirable, for the obstructions to be removed rather than shorten the runway. If so, you may give the airport sponsor this option. However, when the study indicates the runway threshold can safely be displaced or the runway end changed, use the following wording in the determination's conditions:

1. “The runway threshold is displaced and properly marked and lighted so as to provide obstacle clearance in accordance with appropriate airport design standards."

2. “The runway end is changed and properly marked and lighted so as to clearly indicate that portion of runway which is closed to pilots for takeoff and landing."

d. Ingress-Egress Routes. When the determination concerns a heliport, it may be necessary to specify ingress-egress routes in the conditions placed on the determination (see paragraph 11-1-9).

e. Other Conditions. Specify in the determination any other items which are feasible and necessary to assure the safe and efficient use of the airspace by aircraft and the safety of persons and property on the ground.

12-1-4. EXPIRATION DATES

a. The establishment of a expiration date must be included in the determinations as appropriate. Expiration dates (normally 18 months) allow for the orderly planning of airports by providing realistic time limitations for the completion of airport projects. The expiration date may be extended if a proponent's reason for not completing the project by the specified time is valid. When establishing expiration dates on determinations issued under part 157, include the following statement: “In order to avoid placing any unfair restrictions on users of the navigable airspace, this determination is valid until [date]. Should the facility not be operational by this date, an extension of the determination must be obtained."

b. Expiration dates generally are not appropriate for ALP approvals and airspace approvals of other planning projects.

12-1-5. STATEMENT IN DETERMINATIONS

a. No Objections or Conditional. Include the following statement in the determination forwarded to the proponent:

1. “This determination does not constitute FAA approval or disapproval of the physical development involved in the proposal. It is a determination with respect to the safe and efficient use of navigable airspace by aircraft and with respect to the safety of persons and property on the ground."

2. “In making this determination, the FAA has considered matters such as the effects the proposal would have on existing or planned traffic patterns of neighboring airports, the effects it would have on the existing airspace structure and projected programs of the FAA, the effects it would have on the safety of persons and property on the ground, and the effects that existing or proposed manmade objects (on file with the FAA), and known natural objects within the affected area would have on the airport proposal."

3. “The FAA cannot prevent the construction of structures near an airport. The airport environs can only be protected through such means as local zoning ordinances, acquisitions of property in fee title or aviation easements, letters of agreement, or other means."

b. Objectionable - Include the following statement in the determination forwarded to the proponent: “This is a determination with respect to the safe and efficient use of navigable airspace by aircraft and with respect to the safety of persons and property on the ground. In making this determination, the FAA has considered matters such as the effect the proposal would have on existing or planned traffic patterns of neighboring airports, the effects it would have on the existing airspace structure and projected programs of the FAA, the effects it would have on the safety of persons and property on the ground, and the effects that existing or proposed manmade objects (on file with the FAA) and natural objects within the affected area would have on the airport proposal."

c. Notice of Completion - Include a reminder that the sponsor is required to notify the nearest Airport District Office (ADO) or regional office within 15 days after completion of the project. For a part 157 airport, this is accomplished by returning the FAA Form 5010-5 to the appropriate Airport office.

12-1-6. AIRPORT MASTER RECORD

When appropriate, enclose within the determination, FAA Form 5010, Airport Master Record, and include a statement in the determination letter providing the sponsor guidance on its use.

12-1-7. ADVISE FEDERAL AGREEMENT AIRPORT SPONSORS

When a determination is sent to the sponsor, include the following additional statement: “This determination does not constitute a commitment of Federal funds and does not indicate that the proposed development is environmentally acceptable in accordance with applicable Federal laws. An environmental finding is a prerequisite to any major airport development project when Federal aid will be granted for the project. This approval is given subject to the condition that the proposed airport development identified below must not be undertaken without prior written environmental approval by the FAA. These items include [list items] (see FAAO 5050.4A, Chapter 3, for more information)."

12-1-8. DISSEMINATION OF STUDY RESULTS

The Airports Office must make available to FAA offices that participated in the study a copy of each determination issued. Include a copy to AAS-330 for part 157 proposals. AAS-330 must be provided a copy of the entire airspace determination when the FAA Form 5010-5, is returned from the proponent. Additionally, the results of an airport study circularized outside the FAA or discussed in an informal meeting should be disseminated by the Airports Office to those persons/offices on the circular distribution list, attendees at the informal airspace meeting, and any other interested person, as soon as feasible after the sponsor has been notified. Outside of agency distribution must be in the form of a notice “To All Concerned." Include in the notice the aeronautical study number together with a brief summary of the factors on which the determination was based and a recital of any statement included in the determination. In addition, if a conditional statement concerning environmental acceptability has been included in the determination to the proponent, include a similar statement in the notice.

12-1-9. REVIEW OF SENSITIVE OR CONTROVERSIAL CASES AND PART 157 DETERMINATIONS

a. A proponent of an airport proposal or interested persons may, at least 15 days in advance of the determination void date, petition the FAA official who issued the determination to:

1. Revise the determination based on new facts that change the basis on which it was made.

2. Extend the determination void date. Determinations will be furnished to the proponent, aviation officials of the state concerned, and, when appropriate, local political bodies and other interested persons.

b. The petition must be based on aeronautical issues and will not be accepted after airport construction has begun. The appropriate regional office should attempt to resolve the issue(s) in the following manner:

1. Informal Meeting. The Airports Office should hold a special informal airspace meeting with all interested parties when requested. Emphasize that the scope of an airport study analysis is limited, and that the FAA's determination is based on the safe and efficient use of navigable airspace by aircraft and the safety of persons and property on the ground (see paragraph 12-1-5). The air traffic office must assist in the meeting when requested by Airports.

2. Reevaluate. If any new factors regarding the safe and efficient use of the airspace become known as a result of the informal meeting then reevaluate the airport proposal. Affirm or revise the original determination as appropriate.

3. Public Hearing. The regulations provide no right to, or procedures for, a public hearing regarding airport matters. An airport airspace determination is only advisory and for the FAA's own use. Circularization and, where required, informal airspace meetings should be sufficient to provide interested persons a forum to present their views. When Federal funds are, or will be involved in the airport or its development, there is a right to a public hearing on site location, but no similar right exists to a hearing on airspace matters. If a party is emphatic in their demand for a public hearing Mission Support, Airspace Services, through the service area office, should be notified and there must be no implication made that a hearing may be granted. It is general policy not to grant such hearings. However, should circumstances dictate otherwise, Mission Support, Airspace Services would direct the conduct of the hearing to be informal in nature, not within the scope of the Administrative Procedures Act, and the subject matter would be limited to the scope of the airspace analysis (i.e., the safe and efficient use of navigable airspace by aircraft).

12-1-10. DISPOSAL OF FEDERAL SURPLUS REAL PROPERTY FOR PUBLIC AIRPORT PURPOSES

a. Site Endorsement. The FAA must study and officially endorse the site before property interest in land owned and controlled by the United States is conveyed to a public agency for public airport purposes.

b. Processing Procedures. Surplus Federal property cases must be processed in the same manner as Federal airport proposals.

 

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