The implementation of the D.C. Metroplex project is complete. Expected long-term benefits include improved safety, efficiency, increased access to affected airports, and comprehensive improvements to operations.
The FAA issued a Finding of No Significant Impact and Record of Decision (FONSI/ROD) for the DC Metroplex project, which includes BWI, on December 12, 2013. The implementation of the project complied with applicable environmental law requirements, is now complete and has already led to improved efficiency, increased access to affected airports, and improvements to operations at airports within the Metroplex, including BWI. The DC Metroplex project altered aircraft flight paths and altitudes in certain areas but did not increase the number of aircraft operations within the DC-metropolitan airspace. New Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures use satellite-based precision to fly more direct routes, saving fuel and time, to increase efficiency. These new routes enhance safety through route segregation and by reducing complexity for both pilots and air traffic controllers. PBN procedures are being or have been implemented in airports across the country. However, the new flightpaths at BWI have generated public concern and congressional interest.
In response to public interest, on October 27, 2016, the FAA held a public meeting at Lindale Middle School in Linthicum Heights, MD. The Maryland Aviation Authority (MAA) requested the assistance of the FAA for a public meeting to inform the public why the FAA made changes to the flight paths in and out of BWI, specifically the changes made as part of the DC Metroplex project. The request from MAA was for the FAA to provide an explanation of the changes by utilizing "before and after" graphics for departures off RWY 15R, RWY 28 and arrivals into RWY 33L. This meeting was attended by more than 450 members of the community. Those in attendance were able to interact with FAA representatives who answered questions and explained the various air traffic procedures.
After the October 2016 meeting, the MAA formed the DC Metroplex BWI Community Roundtable Working Group (BWI Roundtable). The Roundtable is comprised of numerous community members and county representatives designated by state and county elected officials. A primary goal of the Roundtable is to identify possible alternative routings and procedures and make recommendations to the FAA for further consideration. The FAA is committed to work with the Roundtable to consider proposed solutions, where possible, to complex aviation flight patterns. Any proposed changes would be a new action(s) subject to safety and environmental reviews as prescribed by law and would not re-open or otherwise affect the FAA's 2013 FONSI/ROD for the DC Metroplex project. To that end, the FAA has formed a working group to examine possible changes at BWI and is engaged with the MAA and the BWI Roundtable. The FAA is committed to considering changes and will continue to engage with communities through enhanced community involvement initiatives.