News Article - July 12, 2008

Specter Puts FAA on Notice Regarding Flights Over DelCo   ( - Today, Senator Arlen Specter ( R-Pa. ), along with Senator Frank Lautenberg ( D-NJ ), successfully included an amendment in the Fiscal Year 2009 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill that would require the Federal Aviation Administration ( FAA ) to respond to the Government Accountability Office ( GAO ) audit of the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia Airspace Redesign Project.

   On July 31, 2008, the GAO is expected to publish a report on the airspace redesign project, including the methodology used to develop it. Under the Specter-Lautenberg amendment, the FAA would be required to report to Congress, within 60 days of the GAO report being published, on what actions the agency intends to take in response to any concerns or recommendations the GAO identifies.

   On December 19, 2007, the FAA ordered air traffic controllers at Philadelphia International Airport ( PHL ) to use new dispersal departure headings from 9-11AM and 2-7PM, sending aircraft at low altitudes over residential portions of Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.

   After the FAA touted the new flight paths over Delaware County as a congestion relief initiative, at a field hearing Senator Specter chaired a field hearing in Philadelphia on April 25th, the FAA revealed they now have air traffic controllers under orders to use them as a first option - not as a relief option.

   Senator Specter has urged the FAA to delay implementation of the new flight paths until the GAO reportís conclusion so that so that Congress can review the findings of an independent auditor and weigh the projectís benefits and costs. This amendment would ensure that the GAOís findings are not ignored by the FAA.

Source - Media Newswire