Faa Community Involvementby Senator John McCain
Posted on 2015-12-18
McCAIN. Mr. President, I wish to thank the Senator from Maine for
her consideration. I wish to provide further detail on the provision
included in the omnibus requiring the Federal Aviation Administration
to improve community involvement policies and address concerns stemming
from changes associated with performance based navigation projects,
including what we expect the FAA to do to provide relief for impacted
communities, and what that means for the people of Arizona.
I appreciate the Senator from Maine for acknowledging that community outreach on the part of the FAA to date has been lacking, and that efforts underway at the FAA to update their community involvement practices have not been sufficient. I look forward to working with her to continue to accomplish the intent of the language I introduced which was adopted by unanimous consent earlier this year during Senate consideration of the transportation and housing appropriations bills.
Since September 2014, residents in Arizona around the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport have had their daily lives impacted by changes to flights paths made without formal notification to the airport or community engagement before the changes were implemented. The intent the language included in the omnibus is to improve outreach to the community and airport, providing an opportunity for notification and consultation with the operator of an affected airport and the community before making future flight path decisions.
Furthermore, for changes that have already been implemented, as is the case in Phoenix, the Administrator shall review those decisions to grant a categorical exclusion under Section 213(c) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 to implement procedures in which the changed procedure has had a significant effect on the human environment in the community in which the airport is located, if the airport can demonstrate that the implementation has had such an effect. If this review indicates that the flight path changes have had such an impact, the FAA shall consult with the operator of the airport to identify measures to mitigate the effect of the procedure on the human environment, including considering the use of alternative flight paths.
This would not impede the efforts to modernize our Nation's airspace through NextGen or substantially undermine efficiencies and safety improvements realized through those efforts. It does create a long- awaited, much-needed opportunity for residents around Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport negatively impacted by flight noise to have their voices heard by the FAA.