Who regulates the airspace, aircraft activity and noise?

In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates airspace, aircraft, pilots, airports, flight procedures and aircraft noise. The information below briefly describes their authority.

Airspace and Aircraft Activity

While the MAC owns seven airports in the twin cities metro area, the MAC has no jurisdiction over aircraft activity, flight procedures, or aircraft noise regulations. Further, according to federal regulations, no individual may claim ownership of airspace over his or her property, including the MAC.  

Airspace is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration. Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) are employed by the U.S. government, or by private companies that are contracted by the U.S. government, with a responsibility for safe and efficient movement of aircraft on the ground and in the air. They use established standard operating procedures and a systematic flow to keep aircraft at safe distances from one another. 

Aircraft Noise

The FAA regulates the maximum noise levels aircraft are legally allowed to generate are defined in 14 CFR Part 36. It is important to note that global standards are established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), known as "Stages," and the FAA recognizes those standards when establishing it's policies.

Currently, aircraft flying into and out of any MAC airport must meet Stages 3, 4, and 5; Stage 5 is the quietest.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shares information on its website about on going efforts to manage aircraft noise, and members of the public may contact the FAA Aviation Noise Ombudsman for more detailed information about its programs: FAA Ombudsman.

For more information about the roles and responsibilities of the FAA, the MAC, and aircraft operators (i.e.: airlines), check out our Aircraft Noise Basics video series: Aircraft Noise Basics.

For more information about the FAA's jurisdiction, click here: FAA

Updated 11/4/2019