JAMAICA, NY — The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will extend the public comment period to July 1, 2006 for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia Metropolitan Area Airspace Redesign Project. The public comment period had been scheduled to end June 1, 2006. FAA decided to extend the comment period for an additional 30 days based on the numerous requests it received from elected officials and others who sought additional time to study and assess the noise impacts of the project on their communities.
Written comments can continue to be submitted by U.S. mail to:
Mr. Steve Kelley, FAA-NAR
C/o Michael Merrill
12005 Sunrise Valley Road
Reston, VA 20191
Comments can also be sent to the following e-mail address: email@example.com
The airspace redesign involves a 31,000 square-mile, five-state area with a population of 29 million residents. Twenty one airports are included within the project, with a particular focus placed on air traffic operations at five major airports: Newark Liberty International Airport and Teterboro Airport in New Jersey; John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York; and Philadelphia International Airport in Pennsylvania. The four airspace redesign alternatives under consideration are: Future No Action; Modifications to Existing Airspace; Ocean Routing Airspace; and Integrated Airspace Alternative.
The FAA did not identify a preferred alternative as part of this statement. Instead, the agency will select a preferred alternative after the public comment ends on July 1, 2006, and after it has reviewed all comments it receives on the DEIS. To date, the agency has received more than 400 comments. The final environmental impact statement is expected to be released at the end of the year. Listed below are summaries for each alternative:
Future No Action: This alternative assumes no changes to the existing airspace. Under this alternative, the airspace will operate as it does under existing conditions. The Council on Environmental Quality regulations requires this alternative to be part of the DEIS so that it can be used as a benchmark to compare the magnitude of environmental impacts of the other alternatives.
Modifications to Existing Airspace: This alternative includes air traffic procedure changes that increase departure efficiency to the west along multiple tracks and by splitting a major westbound airway into two independent airways. Under this alternative, there are new departure headings for LaGuardia, Newark Liberty and Philadelphia Airports. This alternative enhances safety by reducing the complexity of the airspace and improves efficiency by expediting departures.
Ocean Routing Airspace: This alternative, proposed by the New Jersey Citizens for Environmental Research (NJCER) at the request of the New Jersey Citizens Against Aircraft Noise (NJCAAN), moves all departing flights from Newark Liberty International Airport over the Atlantic Ocean before turning back over land in the direction of the next destination of departing aircraft. The purpose of this alternative would be to reduce noise impacts on New Jersey residents. While the ocean routing alternative does not meet the purpose of the project by increasing efficiency, the FAA elected to include this alternative for analysis due to NJCAAN concerns.
Integrated Airspace Alternative: This alternative would make additional airspace available to enable air traffic controllers to expedite the flow of traffic in and out of the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia metropolitan areas more efficiently and safely. This alternative could be carried out either with existing, standalone air traffic control facilities or by consolidating facilities throughout the project area. Because the FAA has not yet decided on whether to approve consolidation, this alternative includes provisions for both consolidated and non-consolidated facilities.
The draft environmental impact statement can be viewed at: http://www.faa.gov/nynjphl_airspace_redesign.