Section 3. Processing Rulemaking Airspace Actions
This section prescribes procedures to be followed when taking rulemaking actions to establish, modify, or revoke regulatory airspace.
- The Rules and Regulations Group is responsible for processing the following actions: Class A, B, and C airspace areas; special use airspace (except controlled firing areas); offshore airspace areas; air traffic service routes; and those Class D and E airspace areas that overlie U.S. territories and possessions.
- The Airman Certification and Air Traffic Law Branch, AGC-240, is responsible for ensuring that the airspace cases listed in paragraph a, above, meet the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. Chapter 5, Section 553) and DOT Order 2100.5, Policies and Procedures for Simplification Analysis and Review of Regulations.
- Service centers are responsible for processing all Class D and E airspace area cases (except those overlying U.S. territories and possessions).
- The Assistant Chief Counsel for each region is responsible for ensuring that all regional airspace cases meet the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act and DOT Order 2100.5.
- Docket Location.
- The official docket for both Headquarters and Service Center rulemaking cases must be maintained by DOT Docket Operations, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590.
- The Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) is the government-wide online database that includes DOT's public dockets. The public may review documents placed in the docket, and submit comments on proposed rules, by accessing the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.
- Docket Identification.
- Rulemaking cases are identified by two docket numbers. The first, an FAA docket number, consists of the acronym FAA; the current year; and a consecutively assigned number (for example, FAA-2003-14010). The second, an Airspace docket number, includes the last two digits of the calendar year; the appropriate FAA regional abbreviation for the geographic area the airspace action falls within (for example, AEA, ASO, etc.); and a consecutively assigned number within the calendar year (for example, 16-ASW-46). The FAA docket number is assigned by DOT Docket Operations. The Airspace docket number is assigned by the Service Center responsible for the geographic area the airspace action falls within, except for those airspace actions that are required to be originated by Headquarters.
- Numbers must run consecutively within each calendar year.
- Docket Content. The official docket must include all petitions, notices, rules, comments, correspondence, available graphics, and related material concerning the case (other than working files).
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) actions should provide the following public comment periods:
- Proposed nonsignificant rules (for example, most airspace actions): 45 days.
- Proposed significant rules (for example, Class B and Class C actions): 60 days.
DOT Order 2100.5, Policies and Procedures for Simplification Analysis and Review of Regulations.
- If an airspace docket requires an instrument procedure change and/or flight inspection, the appropriate Operations Support Group (OSG) must coordinate the proposed effective date with Aeronautical Information Services (AIS). The proposed effective date must consider the time needed to process procedural changes, complete Part 71 rulemaking, and allow ample time for flight inspection, if required. Any problems that could affect the proposed effective date must be coordinated with AIS and the Rules and Regulations Group. See Order 8260.26, Establishing and Scheduling Standard Instrument Procedure Effective Dates, for scheduled charting deadlines and publication dates.
- If a rule without a prior NPRM is to be issued, and flight check data is required, the OSG must provide details of the change to AIS to request flight inspection and coordinate the planned effective date.
- To initiate Part 71 and Part 73 rulemaking for airspace actions that are processed by Headquarters, the OSG Manager must submit a request memorandum to the Rules and Regulations Group Manager.
- The request must include the following:
- A regional docket number (except for Class B and C actions).
- Background information to include the purpose and need for the proposed action. If an informal airspace meeting is held, provide the meeting summary, public comments, and proposed mitigations.
- Provide specific details of the proposed action for inclusion in the NPRM to present the public with enough information to develop effective comments.
- For airspace actions, the proposed description of the airspace and aeronautical chart depiction.
A chart depiction is not required for ATS routes.
- For Air Traffic Service (ATS) route actions, the proposed descriptions of the ATS route and TARGETS track plot.
- If radials, courses, or bearings are included as part of an airspace or ATS route description, both True and Magnetic values must be included for the NPRM.
- If an airspace action needs to be completed by a specific date, the OSG must coordinate with any other FAA offices as necessary to ensure that sufficient lead time exists for meeting airspace rulemaking, processing and charting requirements, instrument approach procedure development, and flight inspection deadlines (if required).
- The OSG must review all public comments posted to the Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.regulations.gov) or submitted directly to the FAA in response to an NPRM. The public comments must be analyzed to identify aeronautical impacts and whether mitigations are appropriate or cannot be adopted for specific reasons.
- Within 90 days after the NPRM comment period closing, the OSG Manager will submit a memorandum to the Rules and Regulations Group Manager with either a recommendation for further action (for example, proceed to final rule, changes required, withdraw the proposal, etc.), or a status update on the proposal. Include the following information in the memorandum:
- An analysis of issues raised in the NPRM comments received and how they are being addressed or mitigated. Provide a detailed explanation for issues that cannot be mitigated.
- Confirmation that the airspace description remains the same as proposed in the NPRM or details of the changes that are required.
If substantial changes are made to the proposed action, a supplemental NPRM, with a new comment period, could be required.
- Copies of public comments received and any additional information that should be considered by the Rules and Regulations Group.
- The requested airspace effective date.
- Amendments to Parts 71 and 73 must be made effective at 0901 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and must coincide with 56-day en route charting dates published in FAA Order 8260.26, Establishing Submission Cutoff Dates for Civil Instrument Flight Procedures, Appendix A, Data Submission Cutoff Dates. Exceptions are as follows:
- Safety or national interest actions that require an earlier effective time or date.
- Editorial changes.
- Actions that lessen the burden on the public (for example, revocation of restricted areas).
- Class B and C airspace areas must be made effective on the appropriate sectional aeronautical charting date. To the extent practicable, Class D airspace area and restricted area rules should become effective on a sectional chart date. Consideration should be given to selection on a sectional chart date that matches a 56-day en route chart cycle date.
- Cutoff dates are established to allow sufficient time for chart production and distribution. To meet this requirement, final rules must be published in the Federal Register on or before the applicable deadline for en route airspace date for the planned airspace effective date.
FAA Order 8260.26, Appendix A.
- The Federal Register accepts both paper and electronic submissions.
- Paper submissions must have an original NPRM or an original final rule and a CD with two duplicate certified electronic files that are forwarded to AGC-200 for publication in the Federal Register. The Office of the Federal Register requires that all original documents be signed with blue ink.
- Electronic submissions are submitted though the Federal Register web portal at webportal.fedreg.gov. For more information on how to get a digital signature and the submission process, see the Office of the Federal Register's Document Drafting Handbook, Chapter 6.
- All documents must meet the criteria and format established by the Office of the Federal Register as outlined in the Document Drafting Handbook; https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/write/handbook