FAA Won't Install New NAV System For Outbound MSP Flights

Updated: 02/19/2014 10:24 PM
Created: 02/19/2014 10:16 PM
By: Tim Sherno

The FAA announced Wednesday it will not install a new automated navigation system for flights outbound from Twin Cities International.

The system is called Area Navigation, RNAV for short. It allows controllers to keep planes on tighter flight paths so fewer homes are affected by aircraft noise, but there is a downside. While some homes will see and hear less traffic, other homes would see more.

Pat Hogan, spokesman for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, says some people liked the ideas while others did not. "There was a lot of support for the changes in places like Bloomington, Eagan, even Richfield, where they felt that on the whole, more people would benefit than would see increased over flies. But in some parts of Minneapolis and Edina there was a lot of opposition."

Scott Neal, City Manager in Edina, says the new noise would have been unfairly focused in some areas. "We think that would have meant more noise for a small number of people, but a considerable amount of new noise for a small number of people."

The MAC asked the FAA if the program could be modified to avoid use over more populated areas like Edina, but the FAA announced the program for outbound flights would be scrapped altogether.

According to Hogan, the FAA said the plan had to be all or nothing. "It's a safety concern, that if you handle departures from some runways one way, and departures from other runways a different way, it could be confusing," Hogan added.

Kevin Terrell helped organize opposition to the plan and says he was happy to hear the decision. "It was a great victory for residents. For citizens," Terell said.

The FAA says there are no plans to reconsider the decision, and no timeline to revisit the issue.

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