Section 6. Processing of Airport Proposals By Service Area Offices


The air traffic office must conduct an airspace review to evaluate the effect on the safe and efficient utilization of airspace by aircraft and the effect that such proposals may have on the movement and control of air traffic, associated resources (personnel, facilities and equipment), and ATC program planning.

  1. The depth of the review must commensurate with the location, complexity, and timing of the proposed development. The range of the study may vary from no need to review (for example, the closing of an airport reported for record purposes) to a large effort required to process and study a proposal for a new major air carrier airport to serve a high density terminal area.
  2. An airspace review must be conducted for activation, deactivation or alteration of any landing area, reported in compliance with Part 157 or an airport owner's federal obligations, for military construction projects, and at any other time deemed necessary for assessing the utilization of airspace. Include studies associated with existing airports and with disposal or conveyance of Federal property for public airport purposes, as appropriate.
  3. Upon completion of the airspace review, forward the response (via the OE/AAA automation program, electronic mail, or memorandum) to the responsible Airports Office. The airspace response must recommend approval or disapproval of the use of the airspace associated with the proposal. This response must be in the form of no objection without conditions, no objection provided certain conditions are met, or objectionable. If the recommendation of the finding to the proposed use of the associated airspace is objectionable or to disapprove the proposal, clearly state the reasons why. If the finding is conditional, also clearly state the conditions. Care must be exercised when issuing conditional findings. When the conditions are such that a substantial adverse effect would result if not corrected (such as the blocked view to a portion of the movement area from the airport traffic control tower), then an objectionable or disapproval finding should be recommended. Include a statement that the FAA will reconsider the proposal after provisions are made to resolve the objectionable conditions.

The reviewing air traffic office must coordinate airport proposals with other air traffic offices and facilities as appropriate.

  1. Projects contemplated at airports served by an ATCT or flight service station must be coordinated with the facility manager or his/her representative prior to arriving at a finding. Documentation of the coordination performed must be entered in the case file. The ATCT responds on the proposal to the service area office in accordance with local procedures.
  2. Military Airport Proposals which are not part of the Military Construction Program (MCP) are normally submitted to service area offices through the regional military representatives. Those proposals must be processed in the same manner as civil proposals except that the air traffic office is responsible for coordinating the proposals with the Airports, Flight Standards, and technical operations services offices. The air traffic office is also responsible for any coordination necessary with the military regarding the proposal and issuance of the regional determination.
  3. The Airports Office will coordinate and negotiate with the airport owner/sponsor to resolve problems with proposals on civil, public use airports. The Airports Office may request the air traffic office to assist in the negotiation if the problem relates to the safe and efficient utilization of the airspace.
  1. If the appropriate VFR or IFR traffic pattern airspace area requirements overlap or if airspace requirements cannot be developed to accommodate the category and volume of aircraft anticipated at an existing or planned airport, the airport, in all cases, need not be found objectionable from an airspace utilization standpoint if adjustments to traffic patterns (such as establishing non-standard traffic patterns, assigning specific traffic pattern altitudes, and/or developing special operational procedures) would mitigate the conflict. Such action may reduce the capacity, operational flexibility, and compatibility of the airports involved. The air traffic office must determine if airspace areas overlap. If the airport proposal's traffic pattern conflicts with the pattern of an adjacent airport and the conflict could be eliminated by adjusting only the proposal's pattern, the air traffic office will specify the traffic pattern to be used as a condition of the proposal's determination.
  2. If an adjacent traffic pattern needs to be adjusted to solve a conflict and the pattern adjustment can be made safely, the Airports Office will request assistance from the air traffic office in negotiating with the adjacent airport owner/manager for agreement in writing to the traffic pattern adjustment. If a non-standard traffic pattern adjustment is made at a public-use airport with other than a full-time control tower, then visual indicators at the airport are required, in accordance with AC 150/5340-5, Segmented Circle Airport Marker System. If night operations are conducted or planned at the airport, then floodlighting of the segmented circle is necessary.
  3. The traffic pattern airspace associated with an airport proposal may not overlap the traffic pattern of an adjacent airport.

Review proposed structures and existing terrain or objects that exceed Part 77 obstruction standards to determine the extent of adverse effect and recommend marking/lighting if needed. If the review indicates obstructions that are potential hazards to the airport proposal, forward the airspace finding to the Airports Office. The airspace use associated with a new airport or airport alteration proposal should normally be considered as objectionable (or disapproved for AIP) if the study discloses an adverse effect that cannot be mitigated.


The processing required by air traffic offices depends upon the action necessary for establishment of the instrument approach procedure. This can involve the establishment of NAVAIDs, nonrule or rulemaking circularization and associated actions, the need for communications, weather reporting, and the capability of providing air traffic control service. In conducting the airspace review, determine the viability of establishing a reasonable instrument approach procedure and the acceptability of the airport environment for the proposed procedure. Also, evaluate the effect of the proposed procedure on existing or proposed IFR or VFR aeronautical operations at the airport in question and/or adjacent airports. Be particularly alert to previously issued “no objection" determinations which include a provision/condition for VFR only operations. Forward the finding to the responsible office. Airports must coordinate and circularize all VFR to IFR changes for all Part 157 proposals and airport layout plans (see paragraph 11-2-9).


The need for onsite evaluations will be determined by the airspace review results. Onsite evaluations may be especially necessary when the review indicates the presence of unsafe conditions. The air traffic office should assist the Airports, Flight Standards, and FPTs in the onsite evaluation, as appropriate.


Noise consideration, see paragraph 11-1-6.