Phoenix Mayor And Councilman React To FAA Flight Path Report

By Alexandra Olgin, Kathy Ritchie
Published: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - 1:53pm
Updated: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - 5:59pm
Al Macias/KJZZ
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Since the Federal Aviation Administration implemented new departure procedures in and out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport last September, the response from residents living below the new flight paths has been as loud as the noise above. Now things may be coming to a head after the FAA released a report containing possible adjustments to two procedures. 

A few months ago, the FAA created a working group to come up with solutions to the airplane noise plaguing several Phoenix-area neighborhoods.

Yesterday, the 50-page report and a letter from an FAA representative was posted to Sky Harbor’s website. In the letter, the FAA is recommending reducing aircraft speeds and increasing the rate of climb to two procedures.

Steve Dreiseszun lives in one of the many affected neighborhoods.

"I am not convinced that the proposals offered are that solution. They may offer some mitigation and frankly I’m still trying to digest this in detail to get a sense of what the impacts might be," Dreiseszun said.

Dreiseszun and other residents would also like to see the aircraft make their initial turn farther out, like they used to.

The FAA’s report offered possible solutions including reducing aircraft speeds and increasing aircraft rates of climb. But the agency qualifies that by saying those changes could “potentially decrease noise levels.”

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said it’s clear the FAA has zero intent of solving serious noise issues and the city is prepared to sue.

“We’ll pursue the option of working with airlines that fly out of Sky Harbor airport to work on possible voluntary solutions to this unacceptable dilemma for the people of the City of Phoenix," he said.

The report also claimed Phoenix officials didn’t offer their own suggestions about how to solve the problem. Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski said that is false.

“This is where I get pissed off and mad," he said. "He questioned the integrity of the city of Phoenix and our congressman Ed Pastor. And our staff has given them several alternatives and to put down in writing that we never gave them any type of alternatives is a lie.”

Stanton said Phoenix is also planning to work with other cities negatively impacted by NextGen to urge the FAA to come up with solutions. The city council will have a special meeting to decide how to proceed with the FAA. 

Updated 4/15/2015 at 5:57 p.m.

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