Weather Impact

SFO Layout Airport Diagram

This airport diagram shows the airport, runways, and surrounding areas.

SFO Layout (PDF)

Primer for Media

San Francisco International Airport has developed a reference guide to Airport operations and the impact inclement weather has on those operations.

Weather and Operations at SFO: A Primer for the Media (PDF)

Arrival & Departure Routes

These images show aircraft arrival and departure routes at San Francisco International Airport and surrounding commercial airports.

Southeast Plan (JPG)
West Plan (JPG)

Runway Safety Area Enhancements

In the summer of 2014, SFO constructed special zones at the end of the runway to safely capture an aircraft’s landing gear should it overshoot the airstrip.  All U.S. airports were mandated by Congress to complete this work.

Runway constraints

SFO operates on two sets of parallel runways. On fair weather days, SFO can accommodate approximately 60 arrivals per hour. During periods of low visibility, current FAA safety regulations allow aircraft to arrive side-by-side only if runways are at least 4,300 feet apart. SFO’s runways are only 750 feet apart, so aircraft must arrive single-file. This reduces the airport’s arrival rate to approximately 30 per hour, requiring the FAA to implement a Ground Delay Program to meter flights into SFO.

Precision Runway Monitor (PRM)/Simultaneous Offset Instrument Approach (SOIA)

In an effort to reduce delays, SFO implemented a Simultaneous Offset Instrument Approach (SOIA) in 2005. Using Precision Runway Monitor (PRM) technology, this procedure allows two aircraft to approach the parallel runways from offset angles. The result allows for improved arrival performance during applicable periods of low clouds and fog.

Read more: Precision Runway Monitor & Simultaneous Offset Instrument Approach (PDF)

New Procedures for Airports with Closely-Spaced Parallel Runways (CSPR)

In fall 2013, the FAA will implement new arrival procedures for airports with Closely-Spaced Parallel Runways (CSPR) such as SFO. This will allow staggered arrivals on parallel runways during poor weather conditions, further improving on-time performance at SFO. Arriving aircraft are separated by 1.5 nautical miles.


New arrival procedures for airports with Closely-Spaced Parallel Runways (CSPR) allow aircraft to stagger approaches. Arriving aircraft are separated by 1.5 nautical miles.