[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 46 (Friday, March 8, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 14909-14911]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-04891]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 71

[Docket No. FAA-2013-0079; Airspace Docket No. 13-AWA-1]
RIN 2120-AA66


Amendment of Class B Airspace Description; Houston, TX

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule, technical amendment.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This action amends the description of the Houston, TX, Class B 
airspace area by changing the airport reference for describing the 
William P. Hobby Airport in the Class B airspace header from 
``Secondary Airport'' to ``Primary Airport.'' This change is editorial 
only and does not alter the

[[Page 14910]]

current charted boundaries or altitudes or ATC procedures for the 
Houston Class B airspace area.

DATES: Effective date: April 8, 2013. The Director of the Federal 
Register approves this incorporation by reference action under 1 CFR 
part 51, subject to the annual revision of FAA Order 7400.9 and 
publication of conforming amendments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Colby Abbott, Airspace Policy and ATC 
Procedures Group, Office of Mission Airspace Services, Federal Aviation 
Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; 
telephone: (202) 267-8783.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    In 1973, the FAA issued a final rule (38 FR 31286, November 13, 
1973) which established the Houston Terminal Control Area (TCA), with 
an effective date of March 28, 1974. The Houston TCA listed the Houston 
Intercontinental Airport (later renamed the George Bush 
Intercontinental Airport) as the primary airport. In 1987, to further 
reduce the risk of midair collision in the Houston terminal areas and 
promote the efficient control of air traffic, the FAA issued a final 
rule (52 FR 1418, January 13, 1987) which established the William P. 
Hobby Airport, Airport Radar Service Area (ARSA) next to and under the 
existing Houston TCA airspace. Then, in 1992, to better accommodate 
current traffic flows and provide a greater degree of safety in known 
areas of congestion involving controlled IFR and uncontrolled VFR 
operations, the FAA issued a final rule (57 FR 30818, July 10, 1992) 
and a final rule; correction (57 FR 40095, September 2, 1992) which 
amended the Houston TCA configuration, listed two primary airports 
(Houston Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport) in the 
Houston TCA description, and rescinded the William P. Hobby Airport 
ARSA concurrently. As a result of the Airspace Reclassification final 
rule (56 FR 65638, December 17, 1991), which became effective on 
September 16, 1993, the term ``terminal control area'' was replaced by 
``Class B airspace area.''
    In 1998, the FAA issued a final rule (63 FR 4162, January 28, 1998) 
further amending the Houston Class B airspace area to enhance safety, 
reduce the potential for midair collision, and better manage the air 
traffic operations into, out of, and through Houston Class B airspace. 
However, the airport reference for describing William P. Hobby Airport 
in the Class B airspace header was inadvertently changed from ``Primary 
Airport'' to ``Secondary Airport.'' The unintended consequence of this 
inadvertent change has led to questions and concerns regarding the 30-
nautical mile (NM) Mode C veil that is charted around the Houston 
terminal airspace area, as well as why William P. Hobby Airport is 
listed as a secondary airport and what that means. The charted 
depiction of the Mode C veil surrounding the George Bush 
Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport is correct with 
no change to the existing charted boundaries. Additionally, the FAA 
does not define what a secondary airport is, nor is that description 
used to identify airports in any other Class B or Class C airspace 
areas.
    The FAA is changing the airport reference for William P. Hobby 
Airport in the Houston Class B airspace header to ``Primary Airport,'' 
reflecting the FAA's original intent for the Houston Class B airspace 
area to encompass two primary airports, George Bush Intercontinental 
Airport and William P. Hobby Airport, as specified in the final rule 
(57 FR 30818, July 10, 1992) and final rule; correction (57 FR 40095, 
September 2, 1992). Additionally, the FAA plans to add the William P. 
Hobby Airport to the list of airports identified in Title 14 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations, Part 91, Appendix D, Section 1, in a 
separate rulemaking action.

The Rule

    The FAA is amending Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 
part 71 by editing the Houston, TX, Class B airspace description 
changing the airport reference for William P. Hobby Airport listed in 
the header from ``Secondary Airport'' to ``Primary Airport.'' This 
editorial change does not alter the currently charted boundaries or 
altitudes or ATC procedures for the Houston Class B airspace area. The 
FAA is taking this action to correctly describe the primary airports 
listed in the Houston Class B airspace area, resolve issues associated 
with William P. Hobby Airport having been described as a ``Secondary 
Airport,'' and reaffirms the currently charted boundary of the Mode C 
veil around the Houston terminal airspace area is correct, as 
originally intended by the FAA.
    Class B airspace areas are published in paragraph 3000 of FAA Order 
7400.9W dated August 8, 2012, and effective September 15, 2012, which 
is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class B airspace area 
listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.
    Because the amendment does not affect the boundaries, designated 
altitudes, or activities conducted within the Class B airspace area, 
Houston, TX, I find that notice and public procedures under 5 U.S.C. 
553(b) are unnecessary.
    The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an 
established body of technical regulations for which frequent and 
routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current. 
Therefore, this regulation: (1) Is not a ``significant regulatory 
action'' under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a ``significant rule'' 
under Department of Transportation (DOT) Regulatory Policies and 
Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant 
preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so 
minimal. Since this is a routine matter that will only affect air 
traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, 
when promulgated, will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act.
    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is 
found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 
describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, 
Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's 
authority.
    This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in 
Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the 
FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of the 
airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient 
use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority 
as it makes editorial corrections to an existing Class B airspace 
description to maintain accuracy.

Environmental Review

    The FAA has determined that this action qualifies for categorical 
exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act in accordance 
with 311a, FAA Order 1050.1E, ``Environmental Impacts: Policies and 
Procedures.'' This airspace action is an editorial change only and is 
not expected to cause any potentially significant environmental 
impacts, and no extraordinary circumstances exist that warrant 
preparation of an environmental assessment.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

[[Page 14911]]

Adoption of the Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation 
Administration amends 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

PART 71--DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR 
TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS

0
1. The authority citation for 14 CFR part 71 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 
FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.

Sec.  71.1  [Amended]

0
2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9W, 
Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, signed August 8, 2012, and 
effective September 15, 2012, is amended as follows:

Paragraph 3000 Subpart B--Class B Airspace

* * * * *

ASW TX B Houston, TX [Amended]

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) (Primary Airport)
    (Lat. 29[deg]59[min]04[sec] N., long. 95[deg]20[min]29[sec] W.)
William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) (Primary Airport)
    (Lat. 29[deg]38[min]44[sec] N., long. 95[deg]16[min]44[sec] W.)
Ellington Field (EFD)
    (Lat. 29[deg]36[min]26[sec] N., long. 95[deg]09[min]32[sec] W.)
Humble VORTAC (IAH)
    (Lat. 29[deg]57[min]25[sec] N., long. 95[deg]20[min]45[sec] W.)
Point of Origin
    (Lat. 29[deg]39[min]01[sec] N., long. 95[deg]16[min]45[sec] W.)

Boundaries

* * * * *

    Issued in Washington, DC, on February 21, 2013.
Gary A. Norek,
Manager, Airspace Policy and ATC Procedures Group.
[FR Doc. 2013-04891 Filed 3-7-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P