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FAA Implements New Flight Path Procedures For Sky Harbor Airport

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Al Macias/KJZZ
file | staff
An airplane flying near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Early Thursday morning, nearly four years after the Federal Aviation Administration changed the flight paths around Sky Harbor Airport, relief for many of the residents is finally here.

The FAA has implemented nine new departure procedures for aircraft taking off toward the west.

Steve Dreiseszun is a long-time resident of the FQ Story neighborhood in central Phoenix, and one of the leaders in the FAA flight path battle. The first part of step one, which resolved the Grand Avenue flight path, affecting many historic neighborhoods, went into effect on March 29.

"The second half of step one is now in effect today and that affects the South Mountain and Laveen area, and so, all of the westerly departures have been reverted to pre September 2014 tracks," Dreiseszun said.

In a statement, the FAA said it considered public input in its decision-making process, something Dreiseszun said he appreciates.

Under step two, the FAA will consider feedback on procedures throughout the Valley. Phoenix was one of several cities affected by NextGen, the FAA’s satellite based navigation system.

"I would like to think the FAA can learn lessons from its experience here and those lessons can be applied elsewhere," Dreiseszun said. "I think its still seems to be a hard avenue to pursue; each city is different."

Dreiseszun said he and other advocates have spoken with residents in other cities for feedback as they are trying to improve their own flight path issues.

EDITOR's NOTE: This story has been modified to clarify the direction of new departure procedures.

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.