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Sat, Jun 04, 2005

Naples Wins Court Battle: Loud Jets Banned

Upheld By Court Of Appeals.

The US Court of Appeals ruled late Friday in favor of the Naples Airport Authority in their court battle to ban "Stage 2" jets. The dispute with the FAA has been ongoing for several years.

The court said that the older noisy jets can be banned over Naples. The banned aircraft were made in the 1970s and 1980s and are noisier than newer aircraft. NAA restricted "Stage 1" aircraft with FAA approval back in 1999. The FAA denied Naples' Stage 2 ban requests.

The FAA argued that the Stage 2 ban violated Naples' obligation to make the airport available for public use on reasonable terms. The FAA said the ban discriminated against aircraft of certain types, and their users.

The FAA ruled that Naples, as a facility that received Federal Airport Improvement grants, was not acting appropriately, and stopped funding, leading to appeals, and to court.

The appeals court said that the City of Naples and the Airport Authority had shown evidence that demonstrated that the Stage 2 ban was justified. Now the FAA must carry out the ruling.

"We are overjoyed," said NAA executive director Ted Soliday to the Naples Daily News.

FAA officials were not available for comment. NBAA, AOPA, ATA, GAMA and Continental had filed a brief with the court in support of the FAA in this case back in November.

They asserted "the FAA must have the authority to apply 'uniform, Federally-adopted standards' to proposed airport access restrictions in order to maintain the vitality of the national air transportation system."

Now that the Court reversed the FAA's decision, what they have feared may come to pass.

This ruling may "open the door to the assertion of other arbitrary local and political preferences" at many other airports. More than 3,300 airports have accepted or are eligible for Federal airport grants.

One thing is certain. More court battles will follow.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.flynaples.com

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