Chapter 12. Airport Determinations
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.
following terminology must be used in FAA determinations:
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.
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
to the proposal - An “objection" determination will specify the
FAA's reasons for issuing such a determination.
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.
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.
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
airport study results in a conditional determination, then
clearly set forth the conditions in the determinations to avoid
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.
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
runway threshold is displaced and properly marked and lighted so
as to provide obstacle clearance in accordance with appropriate
airport design standards."
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."
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
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
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."
dates generally are not appropriate for ALP approvals and
airspace approvals of other planning projects.
Objections or Conditional. Include the following statement in
the determination forwarded to the proponent:
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."
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
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
- 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
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
12-1-6. AIRPORT MASTER RECORD
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
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
12-1-8. DISSEMINATION OF STUDY RESULTS
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
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:
the determination based on new facts that change the basis on
which it was made.
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
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
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.
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
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
Procedures. Surplus Federal property cases must be processed in
the same manner as Federal airport proposals.