Draft AC 139.A-03 v1.0 - Application of aerodrome standards and Draft AC 139.B-01 v1.0 - Applying for aerodrome certification (Part 139 consequential ACs)

Closed 27 Nov 2019

Opened 12 Nov 2019

Feedback updated 7 Jul 2020

We asked

Between 12 and 27 November 2019 aerodrome operators, consultants and internal CASA personnel were invited to review and provide feedback on the suitability of guidance material developed to assist aerodrome operators transitioning to the new Part 139 regulations and manual of standards (MOS), specifically:

  • applying for aerodrome certification
  • application of aerodrome standards.

The consultation has closed, a summary of feedback is provided below.

About this consultation

After extensive industry consultation and a recommendation provided by the Technical Working Group in support of making the new Part 139 regulations and MOS, the Part 139 MOS was made on 5 September 2019. Comments provided by two of the six respondents on the increased runway strip width provisions for Code three runways was therefore considered outside the scope of this consultation.

While CASA acknowledges there will be a different, or a 'lesser' standard in runway strip width and separation distances for existing aerodromes applying the grandfathering provision, to the standards for new facility developments, the changes align with ICAO Annex 14 and provide a safety enhancement.

Some comments regarded the content as too technical or written from a legal perspective. An inadequate timeframe for considering and preparing a review and comments were also raised.

You said


A total of six submissions were received, three from aerodrome operators and three from aerodrome consultants. Five consented to their comments being made public, one requested their submission remain confidential.

Summary of feedback

In addition to the responses discussed above, clarification was sought on the following:

  • Application for certification:
    • cost(s) for existing aerodromes in transitioning
    • submission of an incomplete aerodrome manual at time of certification where elements are not yet known.
  • Transition timeframes:
    • time limitations on grandfathering aerodrome facilities yet to be constructed were reported as contrary to that previously stated by CASA
    • acceptance of applications within three months of the new rules commencing.
  • 'Grandfathering' existing aerodrome facilities:
    • the age of the aerodrome and the aerodrome operator not being aware of the standard to which the facility was constructed
    • existing registered aerodromes not required to have manuals, and therefore no records of grandfathered facilities or any commissioning documentation etc. is available
    • administrative oversight should not preclude the ability for a facility to be grandfathered.
  • Definitions:
    • 'grandfathered facility' to include reference to the OLS
    • 'OLS' to be made clear that not each surface is applicable to each runway type
    • 'air transport passenger movement numbers' requires clarification as the department does not publish charter operations. Aircraft and passenger movement rates are required to be known by the aerodrome operator as these influence ATI requirements.
  • Whether a TIFP includes a circling approach, likewise potential implication on instrument runway classification.
  • The ability to apply new visual aids standards, clarification requested on whether this extended to aerodrome lighting.
  • Application of the ARC.
  • RV/RVR:
    • minima are determined by obstacle clearances not RVR
    • instrument approach procedures are determined by procedure designer
    • aerodrome operator only facilitates low visibility operations.

We did

Comments provided by industry have been considered for both ACs and incorporated, where appropriate.

Since this consultation, CASA has refined the transition policy and industry were invited to review the proposed policy under the 'Proposed Part 139 (aerodromes) transition strategy - (PP 1916AS)' consultation. As there were no issues identified outside those provided in the transitional policy consultation please refer to the Summary of Consultation (AS 14/24) as published on the CASA website.

Additionally, following both consultations on these ACs and the transition policy, industry requested a 12-month deferment of the commencement of the new MOS. As this could prejudice aerodrome operators in the process of developing aerodrome facilities in accordance with the new regulations and MOS, this wasn't considered appropriate. However, industry was provided with an additional three months for the transition timeframes. The transition policy and three month deferment of transition timeframes were incorporated in the Civil Aviation Legislation Amendment (Part 139 Aerodromes-Transitional provisions and Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2020 (the transitional Regulations) and the Part 139 (Aerodromes) Manual of Standards 2019 (the transitional MOS). AC 139.A-03 v1.0 has been amended to incorporate the transitional Regulations and MOS.

A grandfathered facility is an existing aerodrome facility—and for a runway, its associated obstacle limitation surfaces—that fully complies with the aerodrome standards that were in force immediately before the commencement of the MOS. This applies if the aerodrome manual documents how the facility does not comply with the MOS. The administration is now less onerous, and while there is presently no requirement for existing registered aerodromes to maintain an aerodrome manual, they are currently required to maintain a record of each facility that does not comply (refer MOS para Likewise, there is nothing that precludes the requirement to maintain lighting commissioning documentation.

Post consultation, Manual of Standards (MOS) – Part 139 Aerodromes Amendment Instrument 2020 (No. 1) came into effect on 26 March 2020, authorising early access to all provisions in Chapter 8 and the use of inset runway edge lights in Chapter 9. AC 139.A-03 v1.0 has been updated to reflect the availability of the new MOS provisions.

In relation to AC 139.B-01 v1.0 on 'Applying for aerodrome certification', the current rules require the submission of an aerodrome manual concurrently with an application for certification. This requirement has not changed. CASA cannot make an adequate assessment for aerodrome certification on receipt of an incomplete aerodrome manual. There are no costs incurred by existing certified and registered aerodrome operators transitioning to the new rules. They will be deemed to hold a 'transitional aerodrome certificate' under the transitional Regulations and a new aerodrome certificate will be provided, at no cost, when the revised or new aerodrome manual is submitted to CASA and assessed as compliant with the new MOS.

Responsibilities associated with reduced visibility operations were made clearer and clarification was provided that an aerodrome with a circling approach is considered to have a terminal instrument flight procedure (TIFP). While a TIFP dictates whether an aerodrome is certified or not, a TIFP in itself does not dictate whether the runway is an instrument runway or not.

CASA will monitor the effectiveness of the new Part 139 of CASR and MOS Part 139 with a view for further revision if required based on industry feedback and safety outcomes. A post-implementation review is planned for after 13 November 2022 which is the end of the transition period.

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


An amendment to Part 139 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR) was made on 21 February 2019.

Effective 22 August 2020, the amended Part 139 of CASR:

  • establishes a single certification framework for regulated aerodromes (certified)
  • mandates that an aerodrome must be certified based on the publication of a terminal instrument flight procedure
  • sets out the standards for the construction, maintenance and operation of certified aerodromes
  • defines the requirements for aerodrome radiocommunication services at all aerodromes
  • requires the identification of hazards, on aerodromes and within the prescribed airspace.

The revised Part 139 (Aerodromes) Manual of Standards (the Part 139 MOS) was published on 06 September 2019 and will also come into effect on 22 August 2020, replacing the Part 139 Manual of Standards – Aerodromes (version 1.14).

Processes or elements on an aerodrome, that are not able to be grandfathered must comply with the revised rules on the commencement date. The only exception are those elements that are captured in the transitional provisions.

Advisory Circulars to Part 139 of CASR

Advisory Circulars (ACs) will be progressively published and circulated to industry to provide guidance in understanding the new rules.

Through this consultation process CASA invites you to review and provide comment on the following:

  • Draft AC 139.A-03 v1.0 – Application of aerodrome standards
  • Draft AC 139.B-01 v1.0 – Applying for aerodrome certification

Please note, each AC has its own page in this consultation.

Why your views matter

CASA recognises the valuable contribution that community and industry consultation makes to the regulatory development process. For this reason, we are seeking feedback on whether the draft ACs provide adequate guidance on:

  • the process to certify an aerodrome
  • how to apply the new aerodrome standards

A copy of each draft AC is provided below and on the survey page for each AC.

Please read the guidance documents before providing your feedback.

Comments should be submitted through the online response form.

Information about how we consult and how to make a confidential submission is available on the CASA website.

To be notified of any future consultations, you can subscribe to our consultation and rulemaking mailing list.

File uploads

Please note: CASA can no longer offer the option to upload files because of the potential risk of malware.

Using an iPad

If you are using an iPad to complete the survey you will be asked to 'download the relevant PDF'. Depending on the software you have on your iPad you may need to download the free viewer to review the single document PDF files. Where a file is a 'multi-file or portfolio PDF you will need to source the Adobe free view - available from iTunes. 

What happens next

At the end of the consultation period, we will review each submission received through the online response form. All submissions will be publicly available on the CASA website, unless you request your submission remain confidential. We will also publish a Summary of Consultation which summarises the feedback received, outlines any intended changes and our plans for the ACs.


  • Air operators
  • Pilots
  • Aerodrome owner/operators
  • CASA aerodrome inspector
  • Aerodrome industry consultant
  • Aircraft owner/operator


  • In-house training
  • Airspace and infrastructure