Aviation Industry Participation In NY/NJ/PHL Airspace Redesign Project Undermines Public Interest ---
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has developed the NY/NJ/PHL Airspace Redesign Project, assisted by widespread aviation industry involvement, while excluding all public participation or oversight. For instance, Glen Morse, representing Continental Airlines, has interfaced with the FAA throughout the development as this massive project has proceeded. The New Jersey Coalition Against Aircraft Noise (NJCAAN), the citizen watchdog organization, suggests this fully funded tax supported project singularly serves aviation industry objectives
, while dismissing environmental concerns.
For instance, the FAA implemented the Yardley/Robbinsville pattern for Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport arrivals in December 2001 and new patterns for westbound departures at Philadelphia International Airport in October 2003. These most recent procedures, apparently integral to the Metro Redesign Project, increased aircraft noise over communities.
NJCAAN believes that the Integrated Airspace alternative is the FAA’s preferred alternative for the Metro Redesign. If implemented, this concept would increase departure patterns over New Jersey, consolidate arrival patterns, and introduces new holding patterns in the metropolitan area. It appears to offer little, if any, aircraft noise relief for the metropolitan area.
Today, industry participation continues behind closed doors in the Airspace Work Group committee of the RTCA Air Traffic Management Advisory Committee (formerly the Free Flight Select Committee). NJCAAN has provided a summary of meeting memos and the Internet link to view the FAA’s Metro Redesign proposals below (also attached).
Sr. Vice President, NJCAAN
Since 1987 the New Jersey Coalition Against Aircraft Noise has advocated for citizen involvement in environmental issues throughout the state, and promotes ocean routing as a sensible alternative to noise pollution in the metropolitan area. NJCAAN's airspace plans use industrial areas, ocean airspace, higher altitudes and other procedures for noise abatement. These plans bring significant relief to over one million citizens affected by aircraft noise from Newark International Airport; to Bergen and Passaic County residents affected by LaGuardia International Airport; and to Monmouth and Ocean County residents affected by Kennedy International Airport.For further information, please go to NJCAAN’s Web site at www.njcaan.org
Airspace Work Group (AWG) of the Free FlightSelect Committee (FFSC) Memo SummaryMemos are posted at: http://www.rtca.org/Airspacewg.htmMay 8, 2003:
New York: The NYSAWG will meet on May 15. Agenda includes updated information integrated airspace plan, benefits estimates and distance impacts.November 12, 2003:
Glen Morse (from Continental Airlines) handed out the current set of recommendations from the NYSAWG. These recommendations were previously distributed to both the AWG and the FFSC as drafts for consideration. Eastern Region and the Airspace Redesign Program Office are anxious to get a formal set of recommendations so that they can proceed with the environmental modeling… …The NYSAWG membership is also waiting for a briefing on the operational impacts of the proposed concepts. This briefing is planned for December 18th. Also, US Airways has presented several concerns about Philadelphia that need to be discussed with the NYSAWG. A special NYSAWG session has been planned for December 15th at PHL.
The group raised concerns that the four pages of NYSAWG recommendations are actually a mixture of actions, statements and recommendations. The group suggested to Glenn that the NYSAWG complete its December meetings and continue to work the current set of draft recommendations, with a plan to present them formally to the Steering Committee (or its replacement entity) in the spring. Glenn agreed to discuss this approach with Steve Kelley (NY/NJ/PHL Airspace Redesign program manager.)
Proposed subgroup structure: Northeast (NESAWG)—Glen Morse, Chair: includes New York/Philadelphia and Boston and northern flows through the east of the Great Lakes Corridor.January 6, 2004:
Northeast (NESAWG)—Recent meetings have produced a shortened list of recommendations. Some members are not completely happy with the tone or scope of the recommendations. Glen will continue to work with the customers to refine the list. A higher-level recommendation suggesting overall delay of the DEIS was discussed, but no agreement among the AWG members was reached.January 7, 2004:
Working Group Reports: Airspace—The New York group has been developing four proposals but has determined that more work is needed. An effort to develop a fifth proposal will convene shortly. Mr. Lamond reported that Airspace Working Group review material will be distributed in advance of the next Select Committee meeting during which a more detailed update will be provided. (Note: this summary is from a Free Flight Select Committee memo.)March 9, 2004:
Northeast (NESAWG)—Glen Morse briefed that the subgroup had reached consensus on the draft recommendations for the NY/NJ/PHL Metropolitan Redesign. The draft recommendations were presented to the AWG and the group suggested some minor reformatting to provide emphasis to the main points. With the reformatting, the AWG approved the recommendations, and agreed to forward them to the Select Committee for approval and subsequent public discussion with the Steering Committee.September 9, 2004:
Bob (Lamond) briefed the group that the Free Flight Select and Steering Committees have been retired. A new committee, the Air Traffic Management Advisory Committee (ATMAC), has been created by RTCA, with membership similar to the previous Free Flight Steering Committee… …As Bob said in his email from June, the AWG and its subgroups can continue their work in the interim as an Industry/FAA Collaborative Airspace Issues Workgroup. The second meeting of the ATMAC is scheduled for October 7th. It is expected that the AWG will be re-chartered under the ATMAC and that the pending recommendations of the AWG will be publicly discussed at this meeting. To support this, the group needs to summarize the recommendations on NY/NJ/PHL Redesign, MACE, and NUAI. The group agreed on the proposed set of recommendations. Bob will coordinate with RTCA for presentation to the ATMAC in October.October 7, 2004:
ATMAC meeting: (NJCAAN commentary) The agenda is revised due to failure to post in the Federal Register a meeting notice and is held as an information only session. The meeting represents the first public meeting where the Redesign Project activities were to be discussed. Three New Jersey Coalition Against Aircraft Noise board members attended the meeting. Russ Chew, chief operating officer of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization, headed the meeting and abruptly ended it prior to reviewing any material on the NY/NJ/PHL Redesign Project, MACE, and NUAI (Northern Utah Airspace Initiative).
No material was distributed at the meeting.OIG Audit of The FAA’s Use Of The RTCA:
In 2000, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Transportation audited the FAA’s use of the RTCA in order to assess whether the agency was in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). The OIG made several recommendations including:
publish meeting minutes and other reports reviewed at closed meetings for public review; andcommittee recommendations should flow through the committee deliberations process and not directly to the agency outside of the public eye.
The audit is available at: http://www.oig.dot.gov/show_pdf.php?id=49Airspace Redesign Background:
1) The FAA continues to favor the aviation industry and excludes public involvement. The FAA has provided detailed modeling to the aviation industry and has relied on input from the industry. The aviation industry also has participated in the development of the redesign through the RTCA Free Flight Select Committee (FFSC). RTCA is a Federal Advisory Committee and has acted as an industry advisory panel in conjunction with the FAA on the redesign project.
The FFSC was chaired by Roger Wall of Federal Express, and consisted of aviation industry and FAA members. It was closed to the public. Industry members included Glen Morse of Continental Airlines and Phil Mullis of Southwest Airlines. The AWG of the FFSC was co-chaired by Bob Lamond of NBAA and Charlie Hall of American Airlines; Sabra Kaulia of the FAA was the Federally Designated Official. The FFSC was retired in June 2004 when a new committee, the RTCA Air Traffic Management Advisory Committee (ATMAC), was formed. Russ Chew, chief operating officer of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (formerly from American Airlines), is the Federally Designated Official of ATMAC.
2) In May 2003, the FAA introduced the Integrated Airspace Concept for the first time in a presentation to Congress.
This concept replaced the FourCorner proposal as a redesign alternative. This plan would increase departure patterns over New Jersey, consolidate arrival patterns and introduces new holding patterns in the metropolitan area. Ocean routing for Newark departures are not a part of the Integrated Airspace concept. A key component of the proposal is to reduce en route aircraft separation from five to three miles. The review avoids detailed information on the noise impact of the proposed flight patterns on communities. NJCAAN believes that the Integrated Airspace concept is the FAA’s preferred alternative for the redesign and appears to offer little, if any, aircraft noise relief for New Jersey.
The FAA has isolated the ocean routing concept and may not be considering it in the broader redesign. NJCAAN estimates that ocean routing would reduce aircraft noise for one million New Jersey residents. See summaries of the FAA’s Redesign Project proposals (pages 12-16) from the agency’s May 2003 Redesign Project update to Congress at http://aea.faa.gov/airspace/NYNJPHL_Airspace_Redesign/
On the left hand column, scroll to the bottom of the page in the to the Congressional update section.)