Section 1. Operational Count Data


The IFR Aircraft Handled count is the statistic maintained by ARTCCs. The statistic is used to fulfill a variety of management planning and administrative requirements, but one of the primary requirements is that of determining controller grade level. As such, it reflects the factors of knowledge and skills required by and the responsibility involved with the type of service being provided. Not every service provided will qualify for an operational count, but those which do are considered typical of the total facility responsibility.


Maintain data on the following categories of aircraft operations:

  1. Air Carrier: Operations by aircraft identified in Appendix 3, Air Carrier Aircraft for Air Traffic Activity Operations Count, which use three letter company designators.
  2. Air Taxi: Operations by aircraft other than those identified in Appendix 3 which use three letter company designators or the prefix “TANGO.”


Air Taxi operators who do not have a FAA-issued designator have been authorized to use the prefix “TANGO.”

  1. Military: All classes of military operations.
  2. General Aviation: Civil operations which are not classified under air carrier or air taxi.
  1. Basic Criteria: ARTCCs must maintain a count of IFR Aircraft Handled which meet both the following criteria:
  1. The aircraft must be:
  1. On an IFR flight plan or a Special VFR clearance; or
  2. Provided approved separation while conducting practice instrument approaches; and
  1. The facility must have control jurisdiction over the aircraft. Radio communication while doing this is not a requirement for an allowable IFR Aircraft Handled count.
  1. By Operation Type: IFR Aircraft Handled is broken down as Domestic aircraft handled and Oceanic operations. The Domestic count is further subdivided into Departure operations, Arrival operations, and Over operations. Presently, the counting of Arrivals is only an option which may be exercised by ARTCCs using a computer counting routine. Count those operations which qualify under the following guidelines:
  1. Domestic Departures: Record one departure for each:
  1. IFR flight which originates in an ARTCCs area and enters that center's airspace. (ARTCCs must not count Departures which operate solely under tower en route control nor any other aircraft which never enters the center's airspace.)
  2. Airborne aircraft changing from VFR to IFR except those covered in subparagraph b3(b).
  3. VFR departure from a Class D or Class E surface area when cleared by the ARTCC in accordance with Special VFR procedures.
  4. IFR flight plan extension (alternate or new destination, or proceeding to original destination after completing practice penetrations or low approaches en route) made after the aircraft has been cleared for an approach by the center or after jurisdiction has been received by approach control.
  1. Domestic Arrivals: Record one Arrival for each:


ARTCCs using a computer counting routine may elect to count both Departures and Arrivals in lieu of counting only the Departures and multiplying by two. The purpose of this option is to provide sufficient flexibility in the counting procedures to be compatible with efficient computer utilization. When using this option, no change is made to the Departure and Over operations procedures except as noted here.

  1. IFR flight terminating at an airport within the ARTCCs area.
  2. VFR entry into a Class D or Class E airspace when cleared by the ARTCC in accordance with SVFR procedures in lieu of the Departure count of subparagraph b1(c).
  3. VFR aircraft that conducts a practice instrument approach procedure and is provided IFR separation by the ARTCC when it is providing approach control service in lieu of the Over count in subparagraph b3(e).
  1. Domestic Overs: Record one Over count for each:
  1. IFR flight not previously counted which proceeds from outside an ARTCC's advisory area and passes through the area without landing.


Such count is not taken for en route flights traversing approach control airspace.

  1. Military Training Route (MTR) operations as follows:
  1. IR (IFR MTRs).
  1. Each entry/reentry at an entry or alternate entry point.
  2. Each recovery to IFR en route phase of flight after completing the IR.
  1. VR (VFR MTRs). No count is authorized for the VR route itself as it is a VFR maneuver. Flight to and from a VR is normally conducted on an IFR flight plan. When the aircraft completing the VR requests IFR en route service:
  1. Record an Over count, as in subparagraph b3(c) below, for the recovery into ARTCC airspace for an IFR leg of a composite flight plan.
  2. Record a Departure count under subparagraph b1(b) above for the recovery into center airspace when the aircraft has not previously filed an IFR flight plan and is now requesting IFR service.
  1. Military aircraft recovering from a block of assigned airspace into the ARTCC's area. Only the ARTCC into whose area the aircraft recovers and which provides IFR en route service to that aircraft must take this count.


Block of Assigned Airspace is airspace of defined vertical/lateral limits, assigned by ATC for the purpose of allowing the military to control and operate during specified periods within these areas without interference from other IFR aircraft. Such airspace includes special use airspace, ATCAAs, MOAs, and Refueling Tracks, but does not include activities, such as expanded route widths, course deviations, or random altitude blocks.

  1. Civilian aircraft which recover from a block of assigned airspace, similar to the military count above, provided the block fits the definition and its use is covered by a LOA.
  2. VFR aircraft that conducts a practice instrument approach procedure and is provided IFR separation by the ARTCC.
  1. Oceanic Operations: Facilities having oceanic airspace may record one Oceanic operation count for each:


Oceanic operations are not categorized as Departures, Arrivals, and Overs.

  1. IFR flight which penetrates an oceanic ARTCC's area. This count is independent of the Domestic count to be taken.
  1. Only one Domestic and one Oceanic count is normally accrued by a flight transiting domestic and oceanic areas. If the aircraft exits the FIR and then subsequently reenters, or exits ARTCC airspace to another ARTCC and then reenters, additional counts may be taken.
  2. ARTCCs must not take more than one Domestic count, even though the aircraft exits an ARTCC's domestic area, crosses the same ARTCC's oceanic area, and again enters the domestic area.
  3. An Oceanic count must not be taken for each hour an aircraft is operating “on station.”
  1. IFR flight which originates in an ARTCC's oceanic airspace.

The military services frequently fly several aircraft in formation receiving ATC services as if they were a single unit. Such operations must qualify for a Departure, Arrival, or Over count using the guidelines in paragraph 9-1-3, Criteria for IFR Aircraft Handled Count. Count such military aircraft movements as follows:

  1. Consider flights of more than one aircraft operating in a formation and handled as a single aircraft as a single unit, however, if the formation breaks up into smaller formations, take another count for each individual formation or individual flight.
  2. Consider as a military mission any operation involving two or more military aircraft flying over routes which require coordination to reserve an altitude or a block of altitudes and count the entire mission as one flight.


“Military Mission” refers to an “altitude reservation” that is approved by CARF or by the ARTCC when the operation is not covered in a letter of agreement.

  1. Take a separate operations count for each aircraft in a military mission when:
  1. Radar service is provided to individual aircraft (or flights).
  2. Aircraft operating outside areas of radar coverage have at least 15 minutes separation.

ARTCCs may elect to use automated counting procedures, manual counting procedures, or both. For example, a computer count may be used for Departures and Overs, while military and oceanic Overs are added manually. The accuracy of computer counts must be verified periodically to be within plus/minus 3 percent of the actual traffic count.


When using manual counting procedures, FAA Form 7230-14 is a monthly form which must be used by ARTCCs and CERAPs for reporting their daily and monthly operational traffic counts. The front side of the form is for Domestic operations and VFR advisory counts. This side will meet the normal requirements of most facilities. The back of the form is for Oceanic operations and must be filled out by those facilities having oceanic airspace. Forms forwarded as the official facility traffic count must be neat and readable as each column will be entered into the computer for processing and storage.

  1. FRONT SIDE: Enter the facility's name and location. Use two digits for the month and the year (March 2019 would be 03, 19), and fill in the facility's three-letter identifier.
  1. Domestic Operations: Each day record by category the count for Departures, Arrivals, and Overs. These columns are added across to get the “Domestic Aircraft Handled” column. Those facilities not using an arrival count must leave those columns blank, enter the actual number of departures in the departure column, and reflect departures multiplied by 2 plus overs in the “Domestic Aircraft Handled” column. Safety and Operations Support does not keypunch the “Domestic Aircraft Handled” column. Rather, it uses a computer routine to add the individual entries, and that column is provided only for the convenience of the facilities and the Service Area office. At the bottom of the form, a row marked “TOTAL” is for the monthly total of each column. Below that row, and at the very bottom, is a row marked “1,” which may be used any way the facility desires to use it.
  2. VFR Advisories: The far right-hand column is for the VFR Advisories count. The count is used in various studies of expanded ARTCC service.
  1. REVERSE SIDE: Facilities that need to use the back of the form must repeat the entries for the month, the year, and the facility location identifier.
  1. Oceanic Operations: The primary use of the back of the form is for Oceanic operations. If a facility has oceanic airspace, unless reported by other means, Oceanic operations must be filled in each day by category. If a category has no Oceanic operations for a day, leave it blank, (do not use a zero). These columns are added horizontally to get the “TOTAL” Oceanic operations column. At the bottom of the form, a row marked “TOTAL” is for the monthly total of each column.
  2. Grand Total: Add the Domestic total to the Oceanic total to get a grand total for the day. The form is designed to be folded so that the three columns are side by side. Folding instructions are printed on the form.
  3. Special Use: Routinely these columns are not used, but are provided for the occasional special project which may be directed by Washington or En Route and Oceanic Operations Area offices offices.
  4. Remarks: The remarks column may be used at any time to enter pertinent remarks concerning other portions of the form.
  1. Distribute FAA Form 7230-14 as follows (it may be combined in one envelope with the other monthly forms):
  1. The original and one copy to the Service Area office not later than the 2nd workday (Monday-Friday) of the following month.
  2. One copy to the facility's files.
  1. Correct any errors in the forms sent in last month by completing a new form, circling the revised fields, and marking the form “AMENDED COPY.” Amended copies of forms more than 1 month old will not be accepted unless approval has been obtained from Acquisition and Business Services, ATO Information Technology, Data Services by the En Route and Oceanic Operations Area Office. Send amended copies along with the current reporting month's forms to the En Route and Oceanic Operations Area Office.