Phoenix suing FAA over noisy flight path changes in city

Jun 1, 2015, 5:24 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — 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 nighttime 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.

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Phoenix suing FAA over noisy flight path changes in city