U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
Air Traffic Organization Policy

ORDER
JO 7210.3X
Effective Date:
February 9, 2012
 
     
Subject:  Facility Operation and Administration
       Includes:  Errata effective 2/9/12, Change 1 effective 7/26/12, Change 2 effective 3/7/13, and Change 3 effective 8/22/13
 

Section 3. Letters of Agreement (LOA)

4-3-1. LETTERS OF AGREEMENT

a. Air traffic managers must negotiate a LOA when operational/procedural needs require the cooperation and concurrence of other persons/ facilities/organizations. A LOA must be prepared when it is necessary to:

b. Supplement established operational/procedural instructions.

c. Define responsibilities and coordination requirements.

d. Establish or standardize operating methods.

e. Specify special operating conditions or specific air traffic control procedures.

f. Delegate responsibility for ATC service; e.g., approach control service, control boundary jurisdiction, and procedures for coordinating and controlling aircraft where two or more airports have conflicting traffic patterns or overlapping conflicting traffic patterns.

g. Establish responsibilities for:

1. Operating airport equipment.

2. Providing emergency services.

3. Exchange braking action reports with the airport management. As a minimum, procedures must provide for the prompt exchange of reports which indicate runway braking conditions have deteriorated to “fair,” “poor,” or “nil” or have improved to “good.”

4. Reporting operating limitations and hazards.

h. Describe procedures that supplement those contained in FAAO JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control, or FAAO JO 7110.10, Flight Services, to satisfy a requirement of a military service.

REFERENCE-
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 1-1-10, Constraints Governing Supplements and Procedural Deviations.

i. Define stereotyped flight plans used for special operations, such as training flights or flight test activities.

j. Describe airspace areas required to segregate special operations.

k. Establish aircraft radiotelephony call signs to be used by the tower and the local operators.

l. Define the responsibilities of the tower and the airport management or other authority for movement and nonmovement areas by precisely delineating the loading ramps and parking areas under the jurisdiction of the airport management or other appropriate authority. Facility air traffic managers may, at their discretion, exclude from the movement area those portions of the airport surface normally designated movement areas that are not visible from the tower. Consideration must be given to the impact this may have on the movement of ground traffic. The agreement may include the following:

1. Airport management or other appropriate authority must require, by agreement or regulation, all ground vehicles and equipment operators and personnel to obtain tower approval prior to entry onto the airport movement area and comply with control instructions issued to them while on that area. This includes those vehicles used to conduct pushback operations and must require approval prior to moving aircraft/vehicles out of the loading ramps or parking areas onto the movement area.

2. Airport management or other appropriate authority may also require those aircraft which will not infringe upon the movement area but will impede ingress and egress to the parking area to contact the tower for advisories prior to conducting pushback operations. State that information related to aircraft movement on the loading ramps or parking areas is advisory in nature and does not imply control responsibility.

3. At those airports where vehicles not equipped with two-way radio are permitted by the airport management or other appropriate authority to enter or cross the defined movement area at specific locations without approval from the tower, enter into an LOA with the airport management, or other appropriate authority, specifying the conditions for such operations and include the clause as follows: “The airport owner/operator covenants and expressly agrees that with regard to any liability which may arise from the operation within (area/areas), that party must be solely and exclusively liable for the negligence of its own agents, servants, and/or employees, in accordance with applicable law, and that neither party looks to the other to save or hold it harmless for the consequences of any negligence on the part of one of its own agents, servants, and/or employees.”

4-3-2. APPROPRIATE SUBJECTS

Examples of subjects of LOAs are:

a. Between ARTCCs:

1. Radar handoff procedures.

2. Interfacility coordination procedures.

3. Delegation of responsibility for IFR control jurisdiction.

b. Between ATCTs:

1. Tower en route control service.

2. Interfacility coordination procedures.

c. Between Flight Service Stations: Procedures for maintaining master flight plan files.

d. Between an ARTCC and an ATCT:

1. Approach control service.

2. Interfacility coordination procedures.

3. Tower/center en route control service.

e. Between an ARTCC and an FSS: Define areas of security responsibility. (See para 2-7-5, Facility Security.)

f. Between an ATCT and an FSS: Operation of airport lighting.

g. Between an ARTCC or an approach control facility and a nonapproach control tower, an FSS, an airport manager, or a local operator: Special VFR Operations. (See FIG 4-3-1.)

h. Between an ARTCC or an approach control facility and a nonapproach control tower:

1. Authorization for separation services.

2. Interfacility coordination procedures.

3. Opposite direction operations procedures.

Reference-
FAAO 7210.3, Para 2-1-30, Opposite Direction Operations.

i. Between an ARTCC and another government agency:

1. Interfacility coordination for control of ADC aircraft.

2. Delegation of responsibility for approach control services.

3. MTR procedures.

j. Between a tower and another government agency:

1. Simulated flameout procedures.

2. Control of helicopter SVFR flights.

3. Operation of aircraft-arresting barriers.

4. MTR procedures.

k. Between a tower and/or FSS and an airport manager/aircraft operator at airports upon which the tower and/or FSS is located:

1. Airport emergency service.

2. Operation of airport lighting.

3. Reporting airport conditions, to include how all PIREP braking action reports of “nil” and “poor” are to be immediately transmitted to the airport operator, and an agreement on actions by air traffic personnel for the immediate cessation of operations on runways subject to “nil” braking action reports.

REFERENCE-
Advisory Circular AC 150/5200-30C, Airport Winter Safety and Operations.

4. Control of vehicular traffic on airport movement areas.

NOTE-
The intent of these LOAs is to use them where airports have standard routes that traverse movement areas on a long term basis. These LOAs are not intended to allow short term operations, single situations, or “open- field” clearances.

5. Operations under an exemption from Part 91, Appendix D, Section 3, the surface area of Class B, Class C, Class D, or Class E airspace within which Special VFR weather minimums are not authorized.

REFERENCE-
Advisory Circular AC 150/5210-7C, Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting Communications.

l. Between a tower and/or FSS and an airport manager/aircraft operator at airports upon which the tower is located but the FSS is not: Reporting airport runway conditions.

4-3-3. DEVELOPING LOA

Air traffic managers must take the following action when developing a LOA: (See FIG 4-3-1 and FIG 4-3-2.)

a. Determine, through coordination, which FAA facility is principally responsible for processing the LOA.

b. Confine the material in each agreement to a single subject or purpose.

c. Describe the responsibilities and procedures applicable to each facility and organization involved.

d. Delegate responsibility for control of IFR aircraft, where necessary, by taking the following action:

1. Describe the area within which responsibility is delegated. The area may be depicted in chart form.

2. Define the conditions governing use of the area. These include altitudes, routing configuration, and limitations or exceptions to the use of the applicable airspace.

3. Specify the details of control procedures to be used. These include clearance limits, reporting points, handoff points, and release points.

4. Identify clearance limits designated as Instrument Approach Fixes when they are to be used for holding aircraft.

5. Specify communications and coordination procedures.

e. Coordinate with other FAA facilities and military or civil organizations as appropriate.

f. Attach charts or other visual presentations, when appropriate, to depict the conditions of the LOA.

g. Coordinate with the Regional Flight Standards Division, All Weather Operations Program Manager if aircraft operations or pilot procedures will be affected.

h. Prepare a single supplement, if necessary, to augment the letter at a facility and attach it to the basic LOA. Do not repeat material from the basic LOA.

i. After coordination, send two copies of the proposed LOA, including supplements, to the service area office for approval if required.

4-3-4. REVIEW BY SERVICE AREA OFFICE

a. The Service Area office must review the proposed LOA, ensure coordination with other interested offices and affected user groups, as necessary, and approve the LOA if satisfactory.

b. The Service Area office may, in writing, delegate to air traffic managers, air traffic managers designees, ATREPs, or Region Air Defense Liaison Officer (RADLOs) the authority to develop, coordinate, approve, and implement LOAs except for:

1. Those which prescribe procedures or minima contrary to those contained in FAAO JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control, unless appropriate military authority has authorized application of reduced separation between military aircraft; or

REFERENCE-
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 1-1-9, Procedural Letters of Agreement.

2. Those between an IFR facility and a tower to authorize the separation services prescribed in para 2-1-15, Authorization for Separation Services by Towers, and para 10-5-3, Functional Use of Certified Tower Radar Displays.

4-3-5. APPROVAL

Upon receipt of Service Area office approval, the air traffic manager must:

a. Prepare the LOA in final form incorporating the Service Area office guidance.

b. Establish an effective date, acceptable to all parties involved, that permits sufficient time for distribution and for participating facilities and user groups to familiarize personnel, revise directives, flight charts, etc., and complete other actions.

c. Sign the LOA and obtain signatures of other authorities as required.

d. Distribute copies of the signed LOA to each participating facility or organization, the Service Area office, and other interested offices. Distribution of supplements outside the facility is not required.

e. Ensure that current, new, or revised LOA, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), and FAA Facility Orders (FO) are posted in the Facility Directives Repository (FDR) before the effective date of the document.

EXCEPTION. LOAs containing contingency plan information must not be posted to the FDR. LOAs with such information must be posted to the National OCP database.

REFERENCE-
FAAO JO 7210.3, Para 2-2-14, Facility Directives Repository (FDR).

4-3-6. ANNUAL REVIEW/REVISIONS

a. Review LOAs annually and update as necessary. Examine current LOAs for practices and/or procedures that are no longer required. Reviewing includes both content and relevance that achieve full operational efficiency and customer flexibility.

b. Process revisions to LOAs and attachments or supplements thereto as page replacements. Mark the revisions as follows:

1. Place an asterisk or vertical line to the left of each new or revised paragraph or section to signify new material.

2. Identify page revisions by the “REV” number, e.g., “REV 1,” and the effective date in the lower right hand corner of each revised page.

c. Coordinate revisions to a LOA in the same manner and degree as for the original LOA.

4-3-7. CANCELLATION

After appropriate coordination with LOA signatories and the Service Area, cancel any agreement which is no longer applicable. Ensure that the FDR is updated.

FIG 4-3-1
Format for a Control Facility/FSS Letter of Agreement

(Name) Center/Approach Control and (Name) FSS

 

LETTER OF AGREEMENT

 

EFFECTIVE: _____________________________________________

SUBJECT: Special VFR Operations within (Name) Airport Surface Area

1.PURPOSE: To provide operating procedures for Special VFR flight handling in the (name) surface area without individual coordination.

2.SCOPE: The procedures outlined herein are for use in the conduct of Special VFR operations within the (name) Airport surface area at or below _____ feet. These procedures are applicable only to aircraft equipped with functioning 2-way radio in order to effect a recall when required by traffic or weather conditions.

3.RESPONSIBILITIES: Upon request by the (name) FSS, the Center/Approach Control Facility may authorize Special VFR operations in the (name) Airport surface area for specific periods of time. The Center/Approach Control Facility must retain the authority to withdraw the provisions of this agreement at any time.

4.PROCEDURES:

 

a. Local Special VFR operations. The (name) FSS must not authorize more than one aircraft to operate simultaneously in the surface area unless pilots agree that they will maintain visual separation with other aircraft operating in the surface area.

 

b. IFR Arrivals and Departures. Special VFR operations must be controlled by the (name) Center/Approach Control during the following periods:

 

 

(1) From 10 minutes prior to the estimated time of arrival of an IFR aircraft over the approach fix until it is on the ground (IFR arrivals must not be cleared for an approach until the FSS confirms that there are no Special VFR operations in progress.)

 

 

(2) From 10 minutes prior to the estimated time of departure of an IFR aircraft until it departs the surface area.

 

c. Special VFR Arrivals and Departures:

 

 

(1) The (name) FSS may authorize aircraft to enter, depart, or fly through the surface area when no Special VFR operations are in progress. Authorization must be granted as outlined in 4a.

 

 

(2) Aircraft desiring to enter the surface area during times Special VFR operations are in progress must be instructed to maintain VFR conditions outside the surface area pending recall and landing of aircraft operating in the surface area.

 

d. Predesigned clearance phraseologies. To authorize Special VFR operations or to issue instructions or other messages pertinent thereto, the (name) FSS must use the following phraseology:

 

 

(1) To authorize operations:
A-T-C CLEARS (identification) TO ENTER/OUT OF/THROUGH (name) SURFACE AREA. MAINTAIN SPECIAL VFR CONDITIONS AT OR BELOW (altitude). REPORT LANDING COMPLETED/LEAVING SURFACE AREA,
or
A-T-C CLEARS (identification) TO OPERATE WITHIN (name) SURFACE AREA. MAINTAIN SPECIAL VFR CONDITIONS AT OR BELOW (altitude).

 

 

(2) To deny operations when visibility is less than one mile:
VISIBILITY (value). A-T-C UNABLE TO ISSUE DEPARTURE/ENTRY CLEARANCE.

 

 

(3) To suspend operations:
SPECIAL VFR AUTHORIZATION DISCONTINUED. RETURN TO AIRPORT OR DEPART SURFACE AREA. ADVISE INTENTIONS ............ (after response), REPORT LANDING COMPLETED/LEAVING SURFACE AREA.

 

 

(4) To advise an aircraft to remain outside the surface area:
A-T-C ADVISES (identification) TO MAINTAIN VFR OUTSIDE THE (name) SURFACE AREA PENDING ARRIVAL/RECALL/DEPARTURE OF SPECIAL VFR AIRCRAFT.

 

Air Traffic Manager, (Name) FSS

 

 

Air Traffic Manager, (Name) ARTCC/Approach Control

 

FIG 4-3-2
Format for an ARTCC/Air Division Letter of Agreement

(Name) Air Route Traffic Control Center and (Name) Air Division

 

LETTER OF AGREEMENT

 

EFFECTIVE:______________________________________

SUBJECT: Inter-Facility Coordination for the Control of Aerospace Defense Command Interceptor Aircraft

1.PURPOSE: (List responsibility and describe necessary coordination.)

2.CANCELLATION: (As required.)

3.SCOPE: (Specify area, names, and types of facilities involved.)

4.RESPONSIBILITIES: (Specify.)

5.PROCEDURES:

 

a. ATC Assigned Airspace. (List procedures to be followed for requesting and authorizing airspace, handling aircraft to and from the airspace, and notifying when no longer required.)

 

b. Transfer of Control. (Specify transfer procedures.)

 

c. Departure. (Specify required advanced time for filing flight plans. Outline additional items required in the flight plan; e.g., type of departure, CONAD control facility, and IND position number.)

 

d. En Route. (including information that ATC is responsible for effecting separation in assigned airspace whenever nonparticipating aircraft are cleared to operate within such airspace.)

 

e. Arrivals. (Outline handoff procedures and special instructions.)

 

f. General. (Self-explanatory.)

6.ATTACHMENTS (List, as required, items such as chart of ATC-assigned airspace areas, common reference/handoff points, etc.)

 

Air Traffic Manager, (Name) ARTCC

 

 

Commander, (Name) Air Division

 

 

(Title of other appropriate authority)

 

4-3-8. AUTOMATED INFORMATION TRANSFER (AIT)

a. Radar identification, altitude, and en route fourth line control information approval may be transferred via full data blocks without using point-out procedures or verbal coordination. Air traffic managers wishing to authorize the use of the AIT process must establish AIT procedures adapted to local traffic situations and use the process only within the context of those specific procedures. These precoordinated procedures and the controller responsibilities must be specifically defined in facility directives.

REFERENCE-
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 5-4-11, En Route Fourth Line Data Block Usage.

b. The controller who first transfers radar identification will also transfer aircraft communications. Either the transferring or the receiving controller, whoever is specified in a facility AIT directive, may issue the altitude change, if any. Additionally, facility AIT directives must require that any deviation from the specified procedure invalidates the procedure for that situation and requires that verbal coordination be completed as per FAAO JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control, para 2-1-14, Coordinate Use of Airspace, para 2-1-15, Control Transfer, para 5-4-5, Transferring Controller Handoff, para 5-4-6, Receiving Controller Handoff, or para 5-4-7, Point Out. The following are general examples of the AIT process.

1. Transfer of radar identification only:

EXAMPLE-
Controller A initiates a transfer of radar identification to controller B before the aircraft enters controller B's airspace. Controller B accepts the transfer of radar identification before the aircraft enters his/her airspace. Controller B, traffic permitting, then initiates a transfer of radar identification to controller C before the aircraft enters controller C's airspace. Controller A transfers aircraft communications to controller C before the aircraft enters controller C's airspace and after observing that controller C has accepted the transfer of radar identification.

2. Transfer of radar identification and altitude control:

EXAMPLE-
1. Controller A initiates a transfer of radar identification to controller B; controller B accepts the transfer. Controller B amends either the interim or assigned altitude in the data block to an altitude within his/her altitude stratum as prescribed in a facility directive. Controller B initiates a transfer of radar identification to controller C before the aircraft enters controller C's airspace. Controller A, after observing controller B initiate a transfer of radar identification to controller C, clears the aircraft to the altitude displayed in the data block by controller B. Controller A, after observing that controller C has accepted the transfer of radar identification, transfers aircraft communication to controller C before the aircraft enters controller C's airspace.

2. Controller C may clear the aircraft to the altitude displayed by controller B if so established in a facility AIT directive.
 

3. The following is an example of a precoordinated AIT procedure which might be written in a facility directive:

EXAMPLE-
The following procedure is established for implementation under the (AIT) process and is agreed to by the South and East areas. Aircraft departing ELP via J26 to ROW requesting FL 280 or above must be handled as follows:

 (a) Sector 20 must clear the aircraft to FL 270 within its airspace and then initiate a transfer of radar identification to sector 63.

 (b) Sector 63 must accept the transfer of radar identification then display either an assigned or interim altitude in the data block.

 (c) Sector 63 must then initiate a transfer of radar identification to sector 23 before the aircraft enters sector 23's airspace.

 (d) Sector 20, after observing the assigned/interim altitude displayed in the data block and that a transfer of radar identification has been initiated to sector 23, must then clear the aircraft to the appropriate altitude.

 (e) Sector 20 must transfer communications of the aircraft to sector 23 before the aircraft enters sector 23's airspace and after observing sector 23's acceptance of the transfer or radar identification.

c. Due to system design, the transfer of data stored in the fourth line of the DSR FDB will not be displayed to the controller when operating on the backup system in either DARC/Host or DARC only modes.

1. When switching from the primary system to either mode of the backup system, ensure that the interfacility DSR fourth line data transfer is disabled.

2. When notified that an adjacent facility has transitioned from their primary system to either mode of the backup system, ensure that the interfacility DSR fourth line data transfer to that facility is disabled.

3. After successfully completing the transition back to the primary system, coordinate a time to enable interfacility DSR fourth line data transfer.

4. The air traffic manager must ensure that these procedures are incorporated into a Standard Operating Procedure.

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