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FAA Makes Adjustments to Runway Operations at MSP Airport

February 08, 2017 05:26 PM

Some relief may be coming to people living around Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.         

The Federal Aviation Administration hopes flight pattern changes lead to less noise for the surrounding communities. The FAA said they want to get back to runway operations that are similar to what it was like before 2015.

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For the folks who live in communities near the airport, this is a long time coming. After 17 years of living in Burnsville, Myra Wotton has grown accustomed to traffic in her backyard.

"I'm waving at the people as they go over the house," Myra Wotton said.

But she has noticed a change in recent years.

"It wakes me up in the morning, and it puts me to bed at night," Wotton said.

In 2015, the airport made runway safety adjustments. But this, along with increased southerly winds, created more noise for cities like Bloomington, Eagan, Mendota Heights and Burnsville.

"There is going to be noise, it's just the way it is, and I think everyone accepts that but I think it needs to be fairly distributed," Kevin Terrell with the MSP FairSkies Coalition said.

Terrell believes local decision makers need to step up to protect the interests of residents surrounding MSP.

"I'm tired of the federal government or some bureaucrat sitting in Washington dictating to us how we should run our airport, how we should maintain quality of life in the Twin Cities," Terrell said.

But the FAA is listening. They're now seeing fewer departures flying over southern communities from Runway 17. It's a step that's expected to bring operations closer to normal.

"I think the intention is to take departures away from south of the river and move them over Minneapolis," Terrell said.

It's unclear exactly how this might impact other communities north of the airport, but Wotton is thankful someone is paying attention to concerns from their neighborhood.

"There's hope that I can actually sit out here in the spring and summertime and grill and actually talk to the people that are two feet across from me," Wotton said.

The Metropolitan Airport Commission didn't provide a comment for the story, but the FAA released a statement saying the following:

"The FAA continues to review and refine air traffic procedures to create the safest and most-efficient operations at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

We have not finalized our day-to-day operations, and we will continue to gather and analyze data over the next year as we transition through seasons and traffic trends.

We will continue to keep local residents, the MAC and the airlines advised."

Credits

Brett Hoffland

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