It's Redesign Day

Better break out the earmuffs.

Or maybe add an item to those Christmas wish lists. I'm thinking those noise-canceling headphones might suddenly become very popular stocking stuffers.

That's because our friends at the Federal Aviation Administration have decided to move ahead with their airport redesign plan for Philadelphia International Airport.

Beginning at 9 a.m., departing planes from the airport could be diverted over the county at altitudes as low as 3,000 feet.

Right now for the most part jets snake their way down the Delaware River until they get to a sufficient altitude before veering out over land.

That changes today. The FAA proposal, which actually was supposed to go into effect Monday, means that during peak times, 9 to 11 a.m., and 2 to 7 p.m., planes can use the new route.

The FAA stands by its decision, saying its needed to cut down on delays at Philly International, which almost always put the facility near the top of the pack when it comes to delays.

Not happy about this are a lot of people in Delaware County. That would include outgoing County Council Chairman Andy Reilly, who has been on a mission to halt the plan. And new U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, D-7, who has crossed party lines to show a united front against the plan.

The county has joined a number of municipalities in several parts of the country to try to stop the plan. They've filed in court for an injunction to halt it. Sestak has gotten the Government Accountability Office to investigate the methods the FAA used in developing the new policy.

Sestak was just on TV from Washington. He did not sound like a happy camper, labeling the move by the FAA to push ahead with the new plan today further proof of its "arrogance." He also called the plan "unsafe," and indicated it would put kids' health at risk.

Of course the FAA sees it differently. Spokesperson Jim Peters insists that the changes are safe and claims to the contrary just don't hold water.

The redesign plan foes now must await a ruling from the court, and cover their ears.

But for now, it appears a lot of county residents are going to finally understand the longtime complaint of the folks in Tinicum, who have struggled for years with noise and other issues related to their next-door neighbor at the airport.

Break out the earmuffs, folks, this argument is about to get a lot louder.

Both in court and out.


Anonymous said…
I live in Chester County, and am very disturbed by this redesign issue as well. This just does not affect Delaware county residents! I have written letters to my reps, who don't seem to care or even know about the issue. And the tragedy is that soon enough they will.... But it could be too late.

And written articles in the local media on this topic are so rare, it feels like a conspiracy to me; I just don't understand it. Is everyone asleep? Could there possibly be any issue that impacts quality of life more?

I would like to know where I can obtain accurate diagrams of the new flight paths, with altitudes, of the areas in both Del county and Chester County. Also, what is the next step to fighting this, is there any hope this decision will be reversed? Which political party is most sympathetic to reversing this? I'm completely ready to switch parties if need be - whatever it takes....