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Blue Skies for New York Airspace RedesignThe New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia Metropolitan Area Airspace Redesign, intended to significantly reduce delays, cleared a key legal barrier after a court struck down a group of legal challenges.

A federal appeals court ruled on June 10th that FAA can continue to move ahead as planned with the redesign, striking down legal challenges filed by the State of Connecticut, towns and counties in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut and a citizens group.

The lawsuits, filed in 2007, claimed FAA didn't properly perform an environmental impact study of the changes in air traffic patterns that the agency made as part of the redesign.

A three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia disagreed.

"The FAA's environmental impact analysis was procedurally sound and substantively reasonable," the court wrote in its decision.

The FAA remains focused on making air travel more efficient in the New York area as it continues to implement the airspace redesign. The agency is currently implementing the second of four redesign stages.

Once completed in 2012, it is estimated that the redesign will help reduce delays by approximately 20 percent compared to taking no action, reduce noise, and cut airplane fuel consumption and emissions.