FAA Con­fer­ence Call Cov­ers Flight Con­cerns

Escalon Times - - FRONT PAGE - By MARG JACK­SON mjack­son@escalon­times.com

A con­fer­ence call with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the FAA – Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion – out­lined the in­creas­ing air traf­fic over Escalon and gave city of­fi­cials some in­for­ma­tion about why it’s there and what can be done about it.

For coun­cilmem­ber Ed Alves, it also crys­tal­lized one point – the city’s bat­tle to re­duce the num­ber of low-fly­ing air­craft is go­ing to be with the Stock­ton Air­port, not the FAA.

The Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon con­fer­ence call was hosted by FAA rep­re­sen­ta­tive Glen Martin and in­cluded sev­eral other FAA of­fi­cials, city lead­ers and Mike An­der­son of Con­gress­man Jeff Den­ham’s of­fice.

Alves has been a vo­cal critic of the in­crease in low-fly­ing air­craft, which seems to have co­in­cided with the ex­pan­sion of Ama­zon busi­ness in the re­gion, and re­port­edly is due to a new land­ing ap­proach be­ing taken by air­craft.

But the coun­cil­man said there has to be a way to change that ap­proach, so the low-fly­ing jets aren’t di­rectly over the city. That, he said, just in­cases the chances of po­ten­tial prob­lems and could lower prop­erty val­ues in the com­mu­nity.

The Ama­zon car­ri­ers are clas­si­fied as com­mer­cial air­craft and it is that cat­e­gory that has seen the in­crease over the last sev­eral months. Al­le­giant Air, which pro­vides pas­sen­ger ser­vice out of

Stock­ton, is also un­der the com­mer­cial des­ig­na­tion.

Martin said the Ama­zon planes be­gin fly­ing the new route last Feb. 1 and city of­fi­cials be­gan notic­ing a marked in­crease in April. FedEx also joined the route in late sum­mer/early fall and that’s when the city be­gan the process of see­ing what, if any­thing, can be done to drop those num­bers back to prior lev­els.

FAA of­fi­cials noted that the pay level for air traf­fic con­trollers at Stock­ton had to be up­graded due to the large in­crease in traf­fic at the site.

“I am not against the Stock­ton air­port, I am just con­cerned about our town,” Alves said.

Martin urged City Man­ager Tammy Al­can­tor and the coun­cil to “fur­ther your re­la­tion­ship” with the air­port lead­ers at Stock­ton so there can be a shar­ing of con­cerns and in­for­ma­tion at the lo­cal level.

“We no­tice it now when we never no­ticed it be­fore,” Alves said of the traf­fic. “The is­sue here is public safety.”

Martin said he felt con­fi­dent that a rea­son­able so­lu­tion could be reached and agreed with Alves that the city will have to work closely with Stock­ton, as op­posed to the FAA.

The FAA in­for­ma­tion, how­ever, was nec­es­sary to help start de­vis­ing a game plan.

“We do ap­pre­ci­ate all these ef­forts,” Al­can­tor told Martin.

The pre­sen­ta­tion pro­vided via the tele­con­fer­ence will be placed on a fu­ture coun­cil agenda as well, with other coun­cil mem­bers and the public able to get up­dated on the is­sue at that time, said Al­can­tor.

MARG JACK­SON/THE TIMES

Escalon City Man­ager Tammy Al­can­tor, left, and coun­cil­man Ed Alves make notes as they watch the FAA pre­sen­ta­tion re­gard­ing in­creased air traf­fic over the city.

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