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Fri, Dec 14, 2007

FAA Delays Philly Airspace Changes Due To Lawsuit

NIMBYs Don't Want Jets Over Their Homes

The FAA's plan to plunge ahead with airspace reorganization in the Northeast corridor will apparently wait at least a few more days. The agency says it has decided to wait out a court decision in a challenge filed by Pennsylvania's Delaware County.

The Philadelphia Enquirer reports Delaware County and 11 other cities, counties and coalitions from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut have filed legal challenges to the airspace reorganization.

The FAA has been working on the change for a decade, in an effort to provide flights departing Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and the major New York metro airports more options for departure paths.

Currently, commercial airliners departing Philadelphia International fly down the Delaware River while climbing to over 3,000 feet, according to the Enquirer. The FAA's plan would create three exit routes when planes are six miles downriver -- or at 3,000 feet, whichever occurs first -- with one route turning west over Delaware County, a second extending south over the county, and a third banking east over Gloucester County.

Those new paths would be a tool in the effort to reduce delays, but any new flight path in that part of the country goes over the homes of millions of NIMBYs.

The various lawsuits are expected to eventually be rolled together into one. This separate suit by Delaware County was filed in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and claims the FAA violated the Clean Air Act in its process.

There's no firm word on when the court will have a decision, but FAA spokesman Jim Peters says the agency will wait for "several days" to see.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.co.delaware.pa.us/


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