FAA seeks com­ment on Ve­gas-area flight path plans

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Valley Life -

LAS VE­GAS (AP) — U.S. avi­a­tion of­fi­cials are giv­ing south­ern Ne­vada res­i­dents a chance to com­ment about new flight paths due to be­gin in 2020 in the skies over Las Ve­gas as part of the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s sweep­ing Next Gen­er­a­tion Air Trans­porta­tion Sys­tem.

Cur­rent routes are safe, the FAA said, but mod­ern­iz­ing take­off and land­ing maps around North Las Ve­gas, Hen­der­son Ex­ec­u­tive and McCar­ran In­ter­na­tional air­ports should cut air­line fuel costs, re­duce pol­lu­tion, im­prove pi­lot and con­troller com­mu­ni­ca­tion and in­crease ef­fi­ciency.

The agency has posted doc­u­ments on­line about its Las Ve­gas Metro­plex plan, and has sched­uled a se­ries of pub­lic work­shops next week at sites in and around Las Ve­gas. Nel­lis Air Force Base also is in the study area.

The FAA started in 2014 to re­vise flight paths and pro­ce­dures around the coun­try un­der its “Nex­tGen” pro­gram.

It aims to use more pre­cise, satel­lite-based navigation in­stead of decades-old bea­con navigation tech­nol­ogy to save time, in­crease the num­ber of flights that air­ports can han­dle and re­duce fuel con­sump­tion and emis­sions.

Pro­jec­tions are the mod­ern­iza­tion will cost about $40 bil­lion through 2030, with more than half the cost borne by tax­pay­ers and most of the rest by what the FAA terms airspace users.

Changes to flight paths have drawn crit­i­cism and noise com­plaints in some cities in­clud­ing Phoenix, where res­i­dents of his­toric neigh­bor­hoods won a court fight and the FAA re­sponded with changes to Phoenix

Sky Har­bor In­ter­na­tional Air­port de­par­ture route.

Neigh­bors of air­ports in Orange County, and Washington, have also fought the agency over flights tak­ing of at lower al­ti­tudes, in nar­rower paths and on more fre­quent sched­ules.

McCar­ran air­port, lo­cated ad­ja­cent to the Las Ve­gas Strip, is among the 10 busiest air­ports in the U.S. based on the num­ber of ar­riv­ing and de­part­ing pas­sen­gers served.

Com­plaints about air­craft noise have been fought in the past in Las Ve­gas, where the city waged a court bat­tle against the FAA af­ter the agency in 2007 be­gan al­low­ing air­craft to use de­par­ture climb­ing routes dubbed the “right turn” dur­ing McCar­ran take­offs.

Op­po­nents ar­gued the route was un­safe be­cause it di­rected hun­dreds of planes a day over densely pop­u­lated neigh­bor­hoods.

As­so­ci­ated Press files

An Al­le­giant Air jet­liner flies by the Luxor Re­sort & Casino af­ter tak­ing off from McCar­ran In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Las Ve­gas. Fed­eral avi­a­tion of­fi­cials are ask­ing south­ern Ne­vada res­i­dents to weigh in about pro­pos­als to re­design take­off and land­ing routes in the skies around North Las Ve­gas, Hen­der­son Ex­ec­u­tive and McCar­ran In­ter­na­tional air­ports.

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