Airspace Use:

FAA Needs to Improve Its Management of Special Use Airspace

RCED-88-147: Published: Aug 5, 1988. Publicly Released: Aug 15, 1988.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Kenneth M. Mead
(202) 512-2834
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

In response to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) management of special-use airspace set aside for military training, focusing on its: (1) approval process for special-use proposals; and (2) monitoring of existing special-use airspace.

GAO found that FAA: (1) lacked adequate data to effectively manage special-use airspace areas and did not require military services to provide such data; (2) did not establish guidance for its regions to reduce or eliminate inappropriate use of special airspace areas; and (3) planned to discuss its role in evaluating military environmental assessments in special-use proposals with the Council on Environmental Quality. GAO noted that, in 1987, two Navy staff studies on special-use airspace utilization showed that the Navy: (1) lacked a standard, centralized system for documenting and reporting its airspace usage; and (2) inefficiently and inappropriately used special airspace areas.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FAA has developed a reporting system for obtaining actual utilization data for restricted areas and military operations areas. Changes to FAA regulations and manuals have been made.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to require standardized user reporting of actual usage data for restricted areas and expand the reporting requirement to other areas, such as military operations areas.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FAA issued Action Notice A7450.1, which directed regional air traffic divisions to conduct detailed reviews of restricted area and military operations area utilization reports to determine if the area's utilization is consistent with the airspace designation. FAA Order 7400.2C requires regional air traffic divisions to review annually the utilization of special-use airspace.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to review periodically the usage reports and ensure that the airspace is being used for the designated purpose.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Guidance and review procedures have been refined on the basis of information obtained during fiscal year 1992 in Special Use Airspace Program Reviews of FAA regional offices. Publication of change 5 to FAA Order 7400.2C has been delayed to complete an update of the entire order. Separate instructions will be sent to all FAA regional offices to implement the new standards. The agency expects to complete this action by January 1995.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to establish standards for measuring the effectiveness of special-use airspace utilization to develop a starting point for all regional discussion of modification or disestablishment of special-use airspace.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 14, 2016

Sep 2, 2016

Aug 8, 2016

Jul 28, 2016

Jul 13, 2016

Jul 7, 2016

Jun 24, 2016

Jun 21, 2016

May 26, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here