Are there airports that in general don’t allow VFR traffic and e.g. don’t even have a VFR chart published and just allow IFR traffic?

  • $\begingroup$ I doubt it. London Heathrow technically does allow VFR traffic (although I doubt they have any). And if VFR is allowed at Heathrow, I don't think it is banned elsewhere. $\endgroup$ May 3, 2018 at 8:49

1 Answer 1



Think about what you are asking.


You're a captain at the pointy end. All your instruments have failed. Maybe let's add in some extra emergency element for good measure.

You need to land at the nearest usable airfield using little more than the good old Mk1 Eyeball.

Your concept of an "IFR only" airfield can shout "IFR only" down the radio all they like until they are blue in the face. But in line with the rules of the air, the captain has the ultimate authority, if he's got clear VFR, he'll be landing there as he has no other options.

Keeping the spam-can brigade out of the way of busy airfields is not the job of airfield policy, its the job of airspace policy. And that works perfectly well.


Even if they might be rarely used on a daily basis, having VFR procedures in place is important whether you are a major airfield or some grass strip.

That way, everyone knows what is expected of everyone else.

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    $\begingroup$ "All your instruments have failed." That is already a bona-fide emergency situation, likely even in VFR. No need to add anything extra; that plane needs to land, and the captain has likely declared an emergency well before reaching the airfield. It's bad enough if just one of your instruments have failed. Try, in mid-air, placarding your altimeter, airspeed indicator and variometer, and land on an unfamiliar airfield. Congratulations; about the only thing you lost was the pitot-static system. Now they aren't placarded, but doing something like spinning wildly all over the place. Good luck. $\endgroup$
    – user
    May 3, 2018 at 10:58
  • $\begingroup$ My "scenario" was never meant to hold up to deep scrutiny, and indeed perhaps not the best example in this context, but the captain would still technically be landing VFR since he has nothing else. $\endgroup$ May 3, 2018 at 11:53
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    $\begingroup$ There are I think 7 or 8 Major US airports where you have to have an IFR reservation to land. Here is info on landing for DCA - Ronald Reagan National Airport and LGA - LaGuardia Airport for example fly.faa.gov/ecvrs And as noted, in an emergency ATC will step in & help. $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    May 3, 2018 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ @CrossRoads I don't know about the US, but I did check my airport directory for Stockholm/Arlanda (ESSA) which is Sweden's largest airport. That lists prior permission required for all VFR traffic; slot assignment required; and in case of radio failure, to leave the airport's airspace and land on a different airport. So VFR is allowed, but they really don't want aircraft out of communication wedging themselves in between others. Göteborg/Landvetter ESGG, probably the #2 airport in Sweden by movements, appears much more relaxed in this regard, though I suspect they wouldn't be happy either. $\endgroup$
    – user
    May 3, 2018 at 18:54

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