Sinema Urges FAA to Work with Arizona Communities, Lessen Noise Impacts from Flight Paths

May 6, 2019

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema wrote to the Acting Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Daniel Elwell urging him to engage all stakeholders affected by Phoenix Sky Harbor flight paths, particularly residents impacted by eastbound departures.

Currently, the FAA is working with the City of Phoenix and historic neighborhoods in Phoenix to gather community feedback regarding airspace and flight path changes. However, the FAA should do more to engage with communities outside of Phoenix as well, including Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, and Rio Verde. Sinema is calling for the FAA to work with the community of Scottsdale to decrease the noise impacts from eastbound flight paths in and out of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. 

“I am concerned the FAA is not fully engaging with all stakeholders affected by Sky Harbor flight procedures,” Sinema wrote. “I urge the FAA to establish and continue dialogue with elected leaders representing communities affected by eastbound flight procedures and to continue working on finding alternatives to lessen the noise impacts on the residents under the eastbound flight paths.”

“I want our residents to know that their city is working to have these new flight paths reevaluated – our goal is to restore the unique environment for which Scottsdale is internationally known. Our community appreciates Senator Sinema’s assistance to resolve this important matter,” said Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane.

Sinema is the ranking member of the Space and Aviation Subcommittee and has consistently encouraged the FAA to communicate with Arizona stakeholders when determining Phoenix Sky Harbor flight paths. 

Following the FAA’s decision to change flight paths to and from Phoenix Sky Harbor in September 2014, the City of Phoenix and historic neighborhoods filed suit against the FAA, alleging FAA failed to solicit input from affected communities. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals found for the plaintiffs, agreeing the FAA had not appropriately solicited community feedback. In a settlement, the FAA agreed to a two-step plan. The first step was to re-route aircraft to the pre-2014 routes. The second step is to solicit and thoroughly consider community feedback prior to developing new procedures.