Two Years After The FAA Changed The Flight Paths, No Relief For Residents

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Sunday, September 18, 2016 - 5:05am
Updated: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - 10:21am
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Sunday marks the two years since the Federal Aviation Administration changed the flight paths out Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.  

"It’s been two long years, two long years of effort, two long years of stress and challenge. Two years of getting the FAA to listen to us," said Steve Dreiseszun, a longtime resident of the FQ Story neighborhood in Phoenix. He has also been a voice in the fight to fix what many say is a very loud problem.

Progress is slow. Both the city of Phoenix and some of the historic neighborhoods are suing the FAA. And over the summer, residents and state and local lawmakers met with FAA Administrator, Michael Huerta.

"He used the term, that 'we have a mess in Phoenix,' that is a quote," Dreiseszun said.

The flight paths changes are part of a nationwide program called Next Gen that’s supposed to improve safety and efficiency.

But Deborah Ostreicher, the city's assistant aviation director, doesn't see it that way. "We have inquired about the safety and environmental reviews done by the FAA to see how this is going, it has been two years, and we have been told there are none."

The FAA says while it does follow up analysis to assess their procedures, it doesn't necessarily entail another round of environmental reviews.

Another bone of contention: the airlines themselves. 

"The FAA published these new routes…and according to our measurements they’re hardly even flying on them," Ostreicher said.

The FAA says it is requesting additional information from the city about those measurements. 

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