An aircraft that has been cleared to a holding fix and subsequently “cleared…approach,” normally does not receive new routing. Even though clearance for the approach may have been issued prior to the aircraft reaching the holding fix, ATC would expect the pilot to proceed via the holding fix which was the last assigned route, and the feeder route associated with that fix, if a feeder route is published on the approach chart, to the IAF to commence the approach. When cleared for the approach, the published off-airway (feeder) routes that lead from the en route structure to the IAF are part of the approach clearance.

If a feeder route to an IAF begins at a fix located along the route of flight prior to reaching the holding fix, and clearance for an approach is issued, a pilot should commence the approach via the published feeder route; for example, the aircraft would not be expected to overfly the feeder route and return to it. The pilot is expected to commence the approach in a similar manner at the IAF, if the IAF for the procedure is located along the route of flight to the holding fix.

If a route of flight directly to the IAF is desired, it should be so stated by the controller with phraseology to include the words “direct,” “proceed direct,” or a similar phrase that the pilot can interpret without question. When a pilot is uncertain of the clearance, ATC should be queried immediately as to what route of flight is preferred.

The name of an instrument approach, as published, is used to identify the approach, even if a component of the approach aid is inoperative or unreliable. The controller will use the name of the approach as published, but must advise the aircraft at the time an approach clearance is issued that the inoperative or unreliable approach aid component is unusable. (Example: “Cleared ILS RWY 4, glide slope unusable.”)