The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the City of Phoenix and certain city historic neighborhood associations have jointly developed a plan to address noise concerns that resulted from air traffic control procedures that the agency implemented in September 2014 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
The plan responds to an August 29, 2017 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that 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.
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 the Step One and Step Two procedures.