The city of Phoenix is suing the FAA due to noise from NextGen flight path changes

The City of Phoenix, Arizona, is suing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over flight path changes – part of NextGen – that have led to aircraft noise that’s plaguing parts of the city. The Mayor said the city has tried to resolve the issue numerous times, but the FAA hasn’t proposed any meaningful changes. The noise problem started in September 2014 when the FAA  implemented the new flight paths.  City officials, the FAA and some airlines have met to try to work out some improvements, but the FAA say that would take 6 – 12 months to do. Hence the lawsuit as Phoenix city say the solutions don’t do enough to make up for hundreds of millions of dollars spent on the city’s noise mitigation efforts. The FAA has not been very helpful. A city spokesperson said: “The FAA’s actions have caused the community extreme discomfort, with many unable to sleep at night or pursue normal daily activities.” It claims the FAA caused “a negative impact on the Phoenix community without proper due process, notification and consideration.”  Phoenix plans to reach out to other US cities facing similar problems, to join in the lawsuit. Other cities troubled by noise due to NextGen changes are Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Boston.
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Phoenix Suing FAA Over Noisy Flight Path Changes in City

Phoenix is suing the Federal Aviation Administration over flight path changes that have led to aircraft noise that’s plaguing some historic neighborhoods.

Mayor Greg Stanton said Monday the city has tried to resolve the issue numerous times, but the FAA hasn’t proposed any meaningful changes.

Stanton said Phoenix is “left with no choice but to sue.”

Residents have sent thousands of complaints to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport since the FAA implemented the new flight paths last September.

A Phoenix spokeswoman said the city plans on filing the suit within the next 24 hours.

City officials say the FAA and several airlines met last week to discuss options directly with Sky Harbor, but no changes have been made “to provide meaningful and comprehensive noise relief.”

The FAA sent a letter to Phoenix city manager Ed Zuercher on Monday saying it supports several of the city’s solutions including voluntary night-time noise reduction procedures, but said it will take six months to a year to complete.

Zuercher replied on behalf of city officials saying the solutions don’t do enough to make up for hundreds of millions of dollars spent on the city’s noise mitigation efforts.

Phoenix city councilman Michael Nowakowski said the FAA never came to planned community meetings, and later, failed to compromise during meetings between FAA and city staff.

Nowakowski plans to reach out to other cities across the country facing similar problems to join in the lawsuit.

The FAA declined to comment on the upcoming lawsuit, but says the changes were part of the agency’s nationwide NextGen program.

The new program is designed to save fuel, reduce emissions and make air travel more efficient nationwide as airplanes are able to make more efficient and direct flight paths in and out of airports.

Other cities where residents have been complaining of noise amid the new flight paths include Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Boston.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/phoenix-suing-faa-noisy-flight-path-city-31455771


 

Phoenix sues FAA over ‘extreme discomfort’ from airplane noise

By Holly Yan, CNN

June 2, 2015

Phoenix city officials say there was no due process when the FAA changed its flight paths. The FAA says it supports adjusting some departures and restricting some turns for early flights

How bad is the airplane noise over Phoenix?

Bad enough that some residents can’t hear each other talk. Bad enough that many can’t sleep. Bad enough that the city is now suing the Federal Aviation Administration.

“When I talk to my wife, I can’t hear what she says,” Phoenix resident Michael March said.

March, who lives 8 miles from Sky Harbor International Airport, said the problem has gone “from zero, or non-existent, to constant.”

The cacophony started last September, when the FAA changed flight paths in the Phoenix area. Both the FAA and airlines said the changes would increase safety and decrease fuel costs, the city of Phoenix said.

“The FAA’s actions have caused the community extreme discomfort, with many unable to sleep at night or pursue normal daily activities,” the city said in a statement. It claims the FAA caused “a negative impact on the Phoenix community without proper due process, notification and consideration.”

“The FAA decided to move a highway in the sky without following legal requirements to consult with stakeholders,” city councilwoman Kate Gallego said.

The FAA said Monday that it has not seen the lawsuit and can’t comment on pending legislation.

But in a letter to the city manager Monday, FAA regional administrator Glen Martin said the agency supports certain changes, such as adjusting westbound departures and restricting some turns for early flights.

March said serious changes can’t come soon enough. He said the noise isn’t just obnoxious for residents — it could threaten home values and affect air quality closer to homes.

“It is super frustrating, and we’ve had no hope,” he said.

March said he hopes the city’s lawsuit will make the FAA think again about changing flight plans over other cities.

“All we want is just the old flight patterns to be put back,” he said. “We feel that the FAA screwed up.”

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/06/02/travel/phoenix-sues-faa-airplane-noise/index.html

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See earlier:

In USA the FAA’s new air traffic control system NextGen is causing major noise pollution

The American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s new air traffic control system NextGen is causing considerable upset in parts of the USA, in the same way that precision navigation that is being promoted by the CAA is in the UK. The overhaul of airspace and flight paths in the USA is intended to save airlines fuel and time. But the new routes are causing misery to the people who now find themselves, unexpectedly and with no warning, under them. One resident, in Phoenix, said:  “If you can imagine yourself at an air show, that’s what it would sound like.” Planes sometimes every 30 seconds for hours at a time.  “Am I angry? Absolutely. I’m furious.” In Phoenix planes now fly low over heavily populated neighbourhoods.  The Mayor said the FAA did not hold a single public hearing notifying neighbours of the change, nor did the agency ever meet with him. The Mayor commented: “I think that the choice that was made to have such a disproportionate impact over such a small number of people is really fundamentally unfair and unacceptable.”  A 2012 Congressional FAA authorization bill fast-tracked the roll out of NextGen by exempting it from normal environmental impact reviews and public hearings. NextGen is also causing problems for people at JFK and LaGuardia airports.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/03/25390/

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