Sens. McCain, Flake urge FAA to address Phoenix flight path changes

Sep 15, 2015, 5:04 PM
Framed by neighborhood palm trees, a passenger plane brings increased noise to residential neighbor...
Framed by neighborhood palm trees, a passenger plane brings increased noise to residential neighborhoods like this one near Phoenix as new FAA flight routes out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport are affecting dozens of neighborhoods with the new noise that residents previously did not have to be subjected to Friday, Feb. 20, 2015, in Laveen, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake are urging the Federal Aviation Administration to address community concerns about flight path changes at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Phoenix is suing the FAA over the situation that has led to aircraft noise that’s plagued some of the city’s historic neighborhoods since last September.

“The average (airplane noise level) is sitting at about 10 to 15 decibels higher (than ambient noise levels) and when you start talking about the peaks, you’re talking about somewhere around 20 decibels higher than the background noise,” Rob Adams, vice president at Landrum and Brown Aviation Planning, said in March.

The FAA said the changes were part of its program designed to save fuel, reduce emissions and make air travel more efficient nationwide.

McCain and Flake sent a letter Tuesday to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta urging more discussion with Phoenix residents adversely affected.

The two Republicans previously urged U.S. Senate members to consider policies that allow residents of affected communities to be heard before any other future flight path changes are made at airports across the country.

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

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 Cooper Rummell and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Sens. McCain, Flake urge FAA to address Phoenix flight path changes