Northeast Faces Airspace Overhaul

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The FAA is working to redesign the airspace in the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia area, and has asked for comments on four potential plans that it says would improve safety, reduce delays and handle growing air traffic. The four alternatives under consideration are Future No Action, Modifications to Existing Airspace, Ocean Routing Airspace, and Integrated Airspace Alternative. A series of 30 public workshops will be held in February, March and April to solicit input from users. Meeting notices will be published and distributed starting this month, and will be posted on the project Web site. Written comments also can be submitted by e-mail.

The airspace redesign involves a 31,000-square-mile, five-state area with a population of 29 million residents. Twenty-one airports are included within the project, with a particular focus placed on air traffic operations at five major airports: Newark Liberty International Airport and Teterboro Airport in New Jersey; John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York; and Philadelphia International Airport in Pennsylvania. Airports without significant instrument flight rule operations were not included. The new structure should better match increases in air traffic levels, new technologies and aircraft types, the FAA said.