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Extensive Airspace Reconfigurations Coming Nov. 13

Nov. 10, 2014

Listen to an NBAA Flight Plan podcast for details on the coming airspace changes.

One of the biggest airspace reconfigurations ever undertaken in North America is underway. Called the Windsor/Toronto/Montreal (WTM)/Northeast U.S. Airspace Redesign, it will affect nearly every route, departure and approach between Windsor, Ontario, Canada; Cleveland, OH and Boston, MA.

Building on experience gained through the redesign of the airspace over Houston and Dallas,TX, the FAA is partnering with Nav Canada for this latest redesign, which goes into effect with the next chart cycle on Thursday, Nov. 13.

John Kosak, an NBAA Air Traffic Services specialist, said operators can take several steps to make the transition easier.

“First and foremost, file your flight plan in the ICAO format,” said Kosak, who is based at the Air Traffic System Command Center (ATSCC) near Washington, DC. The ICAO form has a place to indicate the NAVCOM capabilities of an aircraft. The WTM/Northeastern U.S. Airspace Redesign relies heavily on RNAV routing. If operators are unable to accept an RNAV routing, it is imperative air traffic control (ATC) knows that.

“Those without RNAV can still operate, just file an ICAO flight plan so ATC is aware of your aircraft’s limitations,” he added.

Kosak said he expects a reasonably trouble-free transition to the new airspace configuration, but Nav Canada and FAA are preparing to handle issues as they arise.

“Everything’s not going to go perfectly,” said Kosak. “So make sure you check NOTAMS carefully on the day of your flight.”

FAA realizes that not all flight crews will be able to update their charts on Nov. 13, and the agency has made plans to accommodate those aircraft as well, Kosak added. Special “go” teams have been formed to aid with any issues that might arise from the reconfiguration.

Along with the changes slated for the WTM/Northeast US airspace, FAA is modifying flight routes and procedures in the Boston and Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC areas.

Additional changes coming Nov. 13 include a transition that will affect more than 80 procedures in Boston Center (ZBW) airspace. These will include 12 new and 17 amended Q routes, 14 amended jet routes, and 28 route deletions effective Nov. 13.

The Boston RNAV STAR Optimized Profile Descent project will provide more efficiency due to vertical navigation profiles. However, Boston ARTCC will not begin descend via operations on Nov. 13, but rather it is planning a phased in approach to providing descend via clearances. Operators should read the Boston ARTCC Letter to Airmen No. 14-3 for details on how the new procedures will be phased in and what crews should expect during the transition. Review the document.

On the same date, Washington Center (ZDC) will see five new SIDs and STARs. Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) will receive two new STARs, the ANTHM1 and TROYZ1, while Dulles International (IAD) gets two new SIDs, the JERES1 and MCRAY1. Meanwhile, the satellites get a new STAR, the TIKEE1, which will serve numerous airports, including Upperville (2VG2) to the northwest of Washington, DC, Culpeper (CJR) to the southwest of Washington, DC, Shannon (EZF) to the south and Freeway (W00) to the northeast of the Washington, DC-metro area.

NBAA Air Traffic Services will be working closely with clients and with ATSCC to help ease the transition. Subscribe to NBAA’s Airspace Alerts for all the latest information.