Operations Specifications (OpsSpecs) for commercial operators include provisions for en route emergency diversion airport requirements. Operators are expected to develop a sufficient set of emergency diversion airports, such that one or more can be reasonably expected to be available in varying weather conditions. The flight must be able to make a safe landing, and the airplane maneuvered off of the runway at the selected diversion airport. In the event of a disabled airplane following landing, the capability to move the disabled airplane must exist so as not to block the operation of any recovery airplane. In addition, those airports designated for use must be capable of protecting the safety of all personnel by being able to:

  • Offload the passengers and flight crew in a safe manner during possible adverse weather conditions.
  • Provide for the physiological needs of the passengers and flight crew for the duration until safe evacuation.
  • Be able to safely extract passengers and flight crew as soon as possible. Execution and completion of the recovery is expected within 12 to 48 hours following diversion.

Part 91 operators also need to be prepared for a diversion. Designation of an alternate in the IFR flight plan is a good first step; although, changing weather conditions or equipment issues may require pilots to consider other options.


RNAV is a method of navigation that permits aircraft operations on any desired course within the coverage of station-referenced signals, or within the limits of self-contained system capability. The continued growth in aviation creates increasing demands on airspace capacity and emphasizes the need for optimum utilization of available airspace. These factors, allied with the requirement for NAS operational efficiency, along with the enhanced accuracy of current navigation systems, resulted in the required navigation performance (RNP) concept. RNAV is incorporated into RNP requirements.


Part 95 prescribes altitudes governing the operation of your aircraft under IFR on Federal airways, jet routes, RNAV low or high altitude routes, and other direct routes for which an MEA is designated in this regulation. In addition, it designates mountainous areas and changeover points. Off-airway routes are established in the same manner, and in accordance with the same criteria as airways and jet routes. If you fly for a scheduled air carrier or operator for compensation or hire, any requests for the establishment of off-airway routes are initiated by your company through your principal operations inspector (POI) who works directly with your company and coordinates FAA approval. Air carrier authorized routes are contained in the company’s OpsSpecs under the auspices of the air carrier operating certificate. [Figure 3-32]

Off-airway routes predicated on public navigation facilities and wholly contained within controlled airspace are published as direct Part 95 routes. Off-airway routes predicated on privately owned navigation facilities or not contained wholly within controlled airspace are published as off-airway non-Part 95 routes. In evaluating the adequacy of off-airway routes, the following items are considered; the type of aircraft and navigation systems used; proximity to military bases, training areas, low level military routes; and the adequacy of communications along the route. If you are a commercial operator, and you plan to fly off-airway routes, your OpsSpecs will likely address en route limitations and provisions regarding en route authorizations to use the global positioning system (GPS) or other RNAV systems in the NAS. Your POI must ensure that your long-range navigation program incorporates the required practices and procedures. These procedures must be in your manuals and in checklists, as appropriate. Training on the use of long range navigation equipment and procedures must be included in your training curriculums, and your minimum equipment lists (MELs) and maintenance programs must address the long range navigation equipment. Examples of other selected areas requiring specialized en route authorization include the following:
  • Class I navigation in the U.S. Class A airspace using area or long range navigation systems.
  • Class II navigation using multiple long range navigation systems.
  • Operations in central East Pacific airspace.
  • North Pacific operations.
  • Operations within North Atlantic (NAT) minimum navigation performance specifications (MNPS) airspace.
  • Operations in areas of magnetic unreliability.
  • North Atlantic operation (NAT/OPS) with two engine airplanes under Part 121.
  • Extended range operations (ER-OPS) with two engine airplanes under Part 121.
  • Special fuel reserves in international operations.
  • Planned inflight redispatch or rerelease en route.
  • Extended over water operations using a single long-range communication system.
  • Operations in reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) airspace.