JO 7400.2J
Effective Date:
February 9, 2012

Subject:  Procedures for Handling Airspace Matters
Includes:  Change 3 effective 8/22/13, Change 2 effective 3/7/13, Change 1 effective 7/26/12 and  Errata effective 2/9/12.


Section 2. Class C Airspace Standards

16-2-1. CRITERIA

a. The criteria for considering a given airport as a candidate for Class C designation must be based on factors which include the volume of aircraft or number of enplaned passengers, the traffic density, and the type or nature of operations being conducted.

b. For a site to be considered as a candidate for Class C airspace designation, it must meet the following criteria:

1. The airport must be serviced by an operational airport traffic control tower and a radar approach control; and

2. One of the following applies:

(a) An annual instrument operations count of 75,000 at the primary airport.

(b)  An annual instrument operations count of 100,000 at the primary and secondary airports in the terminal area hub.

(c) An annual count of 250,000 enplaned passengers at the primary airport.

Operations counts are available from the Office of Aviation Policy and Plans, Statistics and Forecast Branch, APO-110. Enplaned passenger counts may be obtained by contacting the Office of Airport Planning and Programming, APP-1. Current validated counts are normally available in mid-October of the current year for the previous year.


Class C airspace area locations must include a single primary airport around which the Class C airspace is designated.


a. General Design. Simplification and standardization of Class C airspace areas are prime requisites. Lateral and vertical limits must be in accordance with the following, to the extent possible.

b. Lateral Limits. Class C airspace areas should initially be designed as two circles centered on the airport reference point. The inner circle should have a 5 NM radius, and the outer circle should have a 10 NM radius. Wherever possible, use VOR radials and DME arcs to define the boundaries of the airspace and any of its sub-areas. It is important, however, that prominent visual landmarks also be considered to assist the VFR traffic preferring to remain clear of this area.

c. Vertical Limits. The ceiling of a Class C airspace should be 4,000 feet above the primary airport's field elevation. The airspace within the 5 NM circle must extend down to the surface. The airspace between the 5 and the 10 NM circle(s) must extend no lower than 1,200 feet AGL.

d. Variations. Any variation from the standard configuration identified must be addressed in the appropriate staff study. (The number of sub-areas must be kept to a minimum.)

Though not requiring regulatory action, an Outer Area is the procedural companion to Class C airspace. The normal radius of an Outer Area is 20 NM from the primary Class C airspace airport. Its vertical limit extends from the lower limits of radio/radar coverage up to the ceiling of the approach control's delegated airspace, excluding the Class C airspace itself, and other airspace as appropriate.


Class C airspace areas may be designated full-time or part-time. If part-time, the effective time must be stated in local time.

Return to
Air Traffic Publications Library
Return to
JO 7400.2 Procedures for
Handling Airspace Matters Home Page
Return to
Table of Contents