The fight continues: Scottsdale plans to file petition against FAA denial


Scottsdale isn’t giving up on its efforts to mitigate impacts created by Sky Harbor Airport flight paths, as the City Council looks to file a petition reviewing the FAA’s January decision to move on from the issue.

The council’s decision to file the petition is scheduled for its Tuesday, Feb. 18 meeting at City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.

Specifically, the council is being asked to adopt resolution No. 11728 authorizing the city to file a petition for review of Federal Aviation Administration action related to flight routes from Sky Harbor International Airport, or seek other available legal remedies.

The resolution comes after the City Council conducted a closed-door meeting on Feb. 4, stemming from a January decision issued by the FAA stating the federal department would not take any further action considering alternate routes for its flight paths.

The issue dates back to 2014 when the FAA implemented a new satellite GPS system known as “NextGen” for guiding arriving and departing aircraft to and from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport.

Where air traffic had formerly been dispersed over predominately unpopulated areas many miles away, arriving and departing planes were now compressed and moved into narrow and undeviating “highways” directly over densely populated communities.

Scottsdale believes it is shouldering an unfair burden of the new flight routes, and has had a significant impact on a number of residents.

In May, Scottsdale City Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution authorizing Mayor Jim Lane to submit comments on behalf of the city to the FAA regarding issues arising from airplanes arriving and departing Sky Harbor Airport.

Now, more than six months later, the FAA says it will not be taking any further action.

According to a city staff report, the FAA’s actions are subject to further review in a federal circuit court.