MAC endorses part of FAA flight plan changes

6:27 PM, Nov 19, 2012   |    comments
Passenger jet flies over south Minneapolis
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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - A new plan that would change flight patterns around the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has been partially approved by the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

The one piece of the plan that was not endorsed involves the creation of a so-called airplane super highway that would have been over neighborhoods in south Minneapolis and Edina.

"There's a win, win here and we need to convince (the FAA) that they just can't just look at everything through that little lens that they are looking through," said Edina Mayor Jim Hovland.

The MAC did offer its approval of the proposed route to the south of the airport. That path goes over Eagan, Mendota Heights and Apple Valley. MAC officials say that the neighbor impact is not an issue in those areas.

"Tomorrow, you're going to have the other cities think, 'Oh, just cause another city had a larger voice.' Now, is south of the river going to complain?" asked John Bergman, Apple Valley council member.

Under the proposal, planes would use GPS-like technology to fly specific and more concentrated routes instead of flying over a wider area.

The Federal Aviation Administration believes it will cut down on communication between pilots and air traffic control where mistakes can happen. The FAA also says that the changes would be more fuel efficient and environmentally-friendly.

A number of open houses were held allowing residents to voice concerns over what they say will be a more constant barrage of noise from overhead along those proposed paths.

With approval, the new routes could have been in place by the spring.

The FAA has not indicated if this was an all-or-nothing plan or if it will enforce some of the changes in flight plants.

It's believed the discussion will be tabled for as long as 16 months, with the FAA deciding what to do next. MAC officials said that the FAA does not need the MAC's endorsement to institute any of the flight plan changes, but they told the MAC that they wouldn't do that until they signed off on plans.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )

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