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Tue, Nov 16, 2010

New Jersey Residents Still Fighting Airspace Changes

FAA Seeks To Move More Aircraft Through Busy NE Corridor

The FAA is moving forward with plans for changing the routes flown by commercial aircraft departing the three major airports in the New York area, and activists are still working hard to put a stop to those plans.

 
FAA Illustration

With nearly a third of the flights from the region's airports delayed or cancelled, federal officials are anxious to implement the airspace re-design in an effort to make flight patterns less complex and reduce the time aircraft spend in holding patterns. But community activists, particularly in New Jersey which will see a significant increase of departing flights in its airspace, say the increased noise level over residential neighborhoods will be unacceptable.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the FAA thinks the plan will increase the number of possible departures from JFK, La Guardia, Newark Liberty, Teterboro, and other, smaller area airports by 5.4%. But a spokesman for the New Jersey Coalition Against Aircraft Noise, Jerome Feder, said the sound levels are already high, and "now we're getting some more." The group has been trying for some time to convince the FAA to push more flights over the ocean when departing from the New York area. Feder said he has had some sympathy from New York area congressional leaders, but the FAA does not need congressional approval to determine air corridors.


GAO Illustration

The expanded departure corridors also will allow airports to reduce the time required between departures to avoid wake turbulence, according to a GAO report on the issue.


GAO Illustration

FAA spokesperson Arlene Sarlac told the Wall Street Journal that aircraft using the new western departure corridor will be above 14,000 feet over much of the residential area of New Jersey, which would mitigate the noise impact over that area. The FAA is already training air traffic controllers in the use of the new routes.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.gao.gov

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