FAA Gives Green Light on Adjusted CRO Procedures

In January 2017 the FAA Air Traffic Control Tower at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) made further adjustments to the procedures being used for Converging Runway Operations (CRO).  

In July 2015, new CRO rules were put in place at MSP to prevent potential airspace conflicts for planes departing over South Minneapolis when arrivals are coming in over Bloomington. At first, these CRO rules applied only to departures on the south parallel runway, Runway 30L, over South Minneapolis and simultaneous arrivals to Runway 35 over Bloomington. In February 2016, the FAA determined that the CRO rules also needed to be applied to departures on the north parallel runway, Runway 30R. These rules, along with increased southerly winds, produced notable increases in the number of aircraft departing to the south over cities including Bloomington, Eagan, Mendota Heights and Burnsville and arriving over Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, and Minnetonka.

To apply the CRO rules, FAA Air Traffic Management at MSP developed a tool called an Arrival Departure Window (ADW) for each of the parallel runways. This tool alternates between flights departing over South Minneapolis and flights arriving over Bloomington. Until January 2017, the two ADW tools could not be used at the same time because it required a thorough risk assessment and approval process conducted by the FAA.

In December 2016, the use of two ADWs at the same time received a green light from FAA headquarters. The FAA Air Traffic Manager at MSP, Kurt Mara, provided an update on the progress at the December meeting of the Planning, Development, and Environment Committee of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. “Getting that first step, will be a huge step in getting us closer to how we used to operate,” Mara said.

The FAA expects to see runway use percentages similar to what was occurring prior to the CRO rules. Specifically, more arrivals to Runway 35 with fewer departures from Runway 17. To follow runway use statistics, the MAC reports number and percent of flights on each runway on a monthly basis. To view this information, please click here: Monthly Operations Reports

The MSP Noise Oversight Committee (NOC) will continue to be engaged in this topic and receive updates from the FAA as developments occur. This topic will be discussed at the next NOC meeting being held on January 18, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. at the Richfield City Council Chambers, 6700 Portland Avenue, Richfield.