So far, so good. The FAA has selected a preferred air traffic management plan that covers a five-state area in the Northeast region. AOPA has been in support of the integrated airspace plan because it would provide the most operational benefit and flexibility for general aviation.
The FAA is now deep into the process of redesigning ATC procedures in a 31,000-square-mile swath of airspace. The move is an effort to improve the efficiency and safety of aircraft operations in the New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia metropolitan areas.
The FAA's preferred plan would combine high- and low-altitude airspace to create more efficient arrival and departure routes. The airspace has not changed since the 1960s.
There were three other alternatives in the draft environmental impact statement. One would not change the airspace. The other alternatives would turn a major westbound airway into two separate airways and create new departure headings for La Guardia, Newark Liberty International, and Philadelphia; redirect departures from Newark Liberty International over the Atlantic Ocean before turning on course; and create additional airspace to allow air traffic controllers to expedite the flow of traffic in and out of those metropolitan areas.
The FAA expects to publish the final environmental impact statement sometime this summer. The agency will host informational meetings in each of the affected states to discuss noise mitigation issues. All meetings below are from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
April 4, 2007