City of Phoenix, FAA propose plans to lessen aircraft noise

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The city of Phoenix and the Federation Aviation Administration have proposed a plan that many hope will lessen aircraft noise.

The plan is aimed at resolving a flap over noisy takeoffs and landings that followed changes in flight procedures at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport three years ago.

[RELATED: Phoenix legal challenge brewing over FAA flight paths]

[RELATED: Phoenix suing FAA over noisy flight path changes in city]

The August 29, 2017 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit called for canceling those new, satellite-based procedures. The Court ruled on a petition from the City of Phoenix and historic neighborhood associations to review the September 2014 changes that the FAA made.

The FAA implemented the changes to use new air traffic control technology that would improve safety and efficiency at the airport. However, the City and neighborhood groups cited increased noise as a result of the changes.

[RELATED: New flight paths lead to airplane noise complaints across Phoenix and US]

The Court’s decision to cancel the procedures would limit the departure options for aircraft at Sky Harbor. The FAA was concerned that complying with the ruling would cause increased delays at the airport in order to maintain safety while the FAA undertook lengthy changes to air traffic procedures. To avoid this result, all sides negotiated a plan that would balance and mitigate noise concerns and airport delays. The plan has two steps:

  • During Step One, the FAA would create new, temporary instructions for departures to the west that would route aircraft near the airport in a manner to approximate, to the extent practicable, the pre- September 2014 routes. The FAA would engage in community outreach before completing this first step.
  • During Step Two, the FAA would develop new satellite-based procedures for the westbound departures and consider routes that approximate the pre- September 2014 routes near the airport. The FAA would also consider feedback on procedures throughout the Phoenix area. The FAA would engage in community outreach while developing these procedures.

Throughout the process, the City of Phoenix would support and coordinate with the FAA on all community outreach efforts.

The agreement is dependent upon the Court granting a joint petition filed by all parties with regard to the proposed plan. The FAA would also conduct safety and environmental reviews of Step One and Step Two procedures.

The joint petition and agreement are available online.


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