Regional Issues - Southwest Region

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This page lists regional airspace issues for Memphis Center, ZME; Houston Center, ZHU; Fort Worth Center, ZFW; and Albuquerque Center, ZAB. Notices, restrictions, and advisories may change at any time and without notice. Do not attempt any operation in the National Airspace System without first obtaining and understanding a thorough pre-flight briefing.

Houston Metroplex Charting Errors Identified
June 5, 2014
Some charting errors have been identified in the Houston Metroplex project, which was implemented on May 29. Many of the new ILS and RNAV approaches have transitions connecting them to the arrivals. The approach transitions allow a seamless path from the end of the arrival onto the specific ILS or RNAV approach. However, there was an error found in the initial charts and navigation database for some of these transitions. Crews should ensure that if they load an approach transition, the altitude and speed restriction on the waypoint at the end of the STAR should match the altitude and speed on the waypoint on the LEGS page of the FMC. This error will be fixed for the next cycle 1407, due out on June 26. Until then, air traffic control is aware of the issue and will help mitigate the issue. Read more about the metroplex charting error.
New Routes, Procedures for IAH/HOU – Another Step Toward NextGen – Effective May 29
May 22, 2014
The Houston Metroplex project, which will be implemented on Thursday, May 29, is the first of several that will utilize performance-based navigation (PBN) procedures as a step toward fully implementing NextGen. Full utilization of these new PBN procedures is expected to maximize benefits including fuel efficiency, time efficiency and reduced carbon emissions. Houston Center (ZHU) will be implementing more than 60 new procedures for George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), as well as several satellite airports in the Houston area. These include replacing nearly all of the legacy (non-RNAV) STARs and SIDs for both airports and the satellites. Read more about the new routes and procedures for IAH and HOU.
New RNAV Routes for the Gulf of Mexico
Janury 8, 2013
On Jan. 10, 2013, at 0630 UTC, new RNAV routes will take effect for crossing the Gulf of Mexico. Two ATS routes will be maintained. Aircraft entering GoMex airspace at or after 0630 UTC are expected to file and fly the new GoMex route structure, including the new “Lima” and “Mike” RNAV routes. This will allow the application of 50 NM lateral separations for qualified aircraft, authorized for RNP 10 (minimum) or RNP 4. Learn more.
Memphis Wake Turbulence Separation Categories Revised by FAA
October 22, 2012
The FAA issued a SAFO on October 18, 2012 advising operators of changes to the current FAA wake turbulence separation categories at Memphis International Airport. Effective November 1, 2012, MEM will be the first site to undergo a permanent change to a new standard of required separation minima. The new 6-category standard applies advances in knowledge of wake physics following years of joint research and development by the FAA, Eurocontrol, and science experts. Aircraft will be re-categorized based on weight, certificated approach speeds, wing characteristics, and the ability to counteract adverse rolls. The FAA plans to expand the new standard to additional airports in 2013-2014. For an overview of the new standard, including the standard matrix and examples of aircraft assignments under the new categories, view SAFO 12007.
Austin International (KAUS) Implements Parking Reservation System for Formula One Race
October 5, 2012
A heavy volume of air traffic is expected in the Austin, TX region due to the November 18, 2012 Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix event. As such, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (KAUS) has established a reservation system to ensure ramp space availability for arriving aircraft. All aircraft operators planning to fly into KAUS from November 12-21 will be required to have a Prior Permission Required (PPR) number in order to park as well as drop-off passengers. Airport officials advise that a PPR reservation does not satisfy customs and immigration clearance requirements and international operators should contact Austin CBP at least 30 days prior to the desired arrival. View the arrival procedures and instructions for obtaining a reservation.
NBAA Releases Notice to Operators Flying DFW RNAV SIDs
January 28, 2011
The Dallas / Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) has 16 area navigation standard instrument departure procedures (RNAV SIDs) available for use by turbojet aircraft. Business aviation aircraft now account for over 20% of the DFW RNAV pilot deviations in the past 20 months, but averages about 1-2% of total DFW operations. This disproportion is a high concern issue for the FAA. View the NBAA Notice on Track Deviations by Business Aviation Aircraft Flying DFW RNAV SIDs (55 KB, PDF).
FAA Evaluating Phraseology for RNAV Instrument Departures at DFW and ATL
May 20, 2009
The FAA will begin evaluation of RNAV Off-the-Ground phraseology and Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL) airports on June 1, 2009. The phraseology, to be issued with the takeoff clearance, requires aircrews to validate correct programming of the runway and departure procedure in the aircraft flight management system prior to takeoff. Pilots can expect a takeoff clearance from ATC that will provide instructions to depart the runway either via an RNAV path or via an assigned heading to be maintained. For more information, view the FAA notice on this evaluation. (PDF, 2.9MB)
FAA to Implement Next Phase of Houston Airspace Redesign This Week
March 9, 2009
The FAA will implement the next phase of the Houston Area Air Traffic System (HAATS) airspace redesign project this Thursday, March 12. This phase of the redesign significantly changes the arrival and departure procedures on the east side of Houston Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) airspace as well as severe weather avoidance program (SWAP) routes. The FAA has provided additional information to NBAA on the changes to Houston TRACON standard instrument departures, standard terminal arrival routes and SWAP routes. More.