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Source: Phoenix sues FAA over flight path changes

PHOENIX — Phoenix filed a lawsuit Monday against the Federal Aviation Administration for changing flight paths earlier this year, a source said.

“It’s about time we did something to stand up for our citizens and try to get this changed,” councilman Jim Waring said of the suit.

The FAA changed flight paths over the city in September, leading to thousands of noise complaints from central Phoenix neighborhoods and historic districts.

“We want to go back and try to see if this can be undone and kind of start over,” Waring said.

The suit does not seek compensation, but demands the flight plans be reverted to old routes. The FAA contends the new system helps save fuel, increases safety and make travel more efficient nationwide.

In a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher said the city had proposed tweaks to the paths that would retain 80 percent of the new routes’ benefits.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said in an email the agency has not seen the suit and does not comment on pending litigation.

Phoenix has said it wants to work with the FAA, but has lost confidence in it. Waring said the agency did not budge when contacted by former Rep. Ed Pastor.

Waring alleged the FAA made the flight plan changes quickly and quietly, leaving little to no room for public comment.

“We really felt like Phoenix citizens weren’t included in this process,” Waring said.

KTAR’s Bob McClay contributed to this report.

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