2005-12-30 / Community

FAA Releases DEIS For Airspace Redesign

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has called for comments on four potential plans to improve safety, reduce delays and handle growing air traffic in most of the nation’s northeastern airspace.

The call comes as the FAA released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia Metropolitan Area Airspace Redesign Project. The statement describes the different alternatives the FAA is considering to change the structure of the airspace within a five-state area to better match increases in air traffic levels, new technologies and aircraft types.

The airspace redesign involves a 31,000-square-mile, five-state area with a population of 29 million residents. Twenty-one airports are included within the project, with a particular focus placed on air traffic operations at five major airports: Newark Liberty International Airport and Teterboro Airport in New Jersey; John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York; and Philadelphia International Airport in Pennsylvania. Airports without significant instrument flight rule operations were not included.

There are basically four alternatives, some of which will impact the airspace over Rockaway being studied. They are:

Modifications to Existing Airspace: This alternative includes air traffic procedure changes that increase departure efficiency to the west along multiple tracks and by splitting a major westbound airway into two independent airways. Under this alternative, there are new departure headings for LaGuardia, Newark Liberty and Philadelphia Airports. This alternative enhances safety by reducing the complexity of the airspace and improves efficiency by expediting departures.

Ocean Routing Airspace: This alternative, proposed by the New Jersey Citizens for Environmental Research (NJCER) at the request of the New Jersey Citizens Against Aircraft Noise (NJCAAN), moves all departing flights from Newark Liberty International Airport over the Atlantic Ocean before turning back over land in the direction of the next destination of departing aircraft. The purpose of this alternative would be to reduce noise impacts on New Jersey residents. While the ocean routing alternative does not meet the purpose of the project by increasing efficiency, the FAA elected to include this alternative for analysis due to NJCAAN concerns.

Integrated Airspace Alternative: This alternative would make additional airspace available to enable air traffic controllers to expedite the flow of traffic in and out of the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia metropolitan areas more efficiently and safely. This alternative could be carried out either with existing, standalone air traffic control facilities or by consolidating facilities throughout the project area. Because the FAA has not yet decided on whether to approve consolidation, this alternative includes provisions for both consolidated and non-consolidated facilities.

The full report can be found on the Website of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at www.faa.gov.

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