Airports are required to protect surfaces as described in FAR Part 77 and Part 139. They also monitor and protect flight procedures surfaces as described in Order 8260.3 (TERPS) because impact to these procedures would result in quantifiable changes to airport performance (e.g., higher approach minimums). There are additional surfaces that airports may not monitor (e.g., one-engine inop [OEI], minimum vectoring altitude [MVA]), which can significantly impact airport service levels.
Airports provide obstruction data to the FAA, which is made available to airlines and the aviation community through various database and publications. However, there is a lack of consistency and reliability with these databases and no one definitive source for this information. These sources do not require the approval of the FAA, and there is no clear or comprehensive way of reconciling the various data sources. The airlines, as consumers of the data, have to utilize the most restrictive data sets to ensure safety.
If community zoning standards don’t limit obstructions in Part 77, TERPs, or other airspace that need to be protected, then as communities around the airport seek to develop and build causing obstructions, airlines and/or FAA may have to change their procedures which could result in a reduction of service or capabilities. The community may not fully understand this potential economic impact.
Airports need guidance on developing obstruction management plans so as to effectively ensure that aircraft can best utilize the airport.