Says Plan Will Reduce Delays, Cut Noise For Half A Million
The Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) announced Wednesday it has issued a final
decision for redesigning the New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia
metropolitan area airspace -- a move the agency asserts
will reduce delays, fuel consumption, aircraft emissions and
"This new concept in airspace design will help us handle the
rapidly growing number of flights in the Northeast in a much more
efficient way," said FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey. "This
airspace was first designed in the 1960s and has become much more
complex. We now need to look at creative new ways to avoid
The formal Record of Decision (ROD) for the Airspace Redesign
Study supports the FAA's preferred alternative.
The FAA says it did extensive analysis and held more than 120
public meetings in five states throughout the environmental
process. The airspace redesign involved a 31,000-square-mile area
over New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut
with a population of 29 million residents. Twenty-one airports were
included in the study.
The plan is extremely unpopular with many residents of areas
expected to be impacted by the changes. As ANN reported last month,
residents of Rockland County, NY have hired a law firm to
investigate possible legal action against the FAA in overturning
the environmental review process for its Integrated Airspace
The agency feels it has covered its legal bases with the change.
In December 2006, the FAA notes, it released its Draft
Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the study. In March 2007,
the agency identified the Integrated Airspace Alternative as its
preferred alternative. On August 3, 2007, notice of the Final
Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was published in the Federal
The FAA says its studies show this alternative will reduce
delays, complexity of the current air traffic system, fuel
consumption and carbon emissions and aircraft noise. Benefits, in
the form of reduced delays, are estimated to reach 20 percent by
the year 2011 compared to the amount of delays the air traffic
system would have without the changes.
Half a million fewer people will be exposed to noise under this
alternative, the agency claims, compared to no change.