Phoenix Sky Harbor
International Airport

Legislative

Sky Harbor at Night

Updates

April 3, 2017 – Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake issued a statement indicating they sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta asking for an update on the FAA's implementation of the National Defense Authorization Act that requires the agency to review flight path changes like those implemented in Phoenix in 2014.

Dec. 23, 2016 – President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017

Dec. 8, 2016: Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake issued statements regarding Senate passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which includes a provision requiring the FAA to review flight path changes like those in Phoenix and take steps to mitigate the negative effects these changes have had on the community. It would also ensure that other airports and communities have the opportunity to fully engage with the FAA before any future changes are made. The bill will be forwarded to President Barack Obama for approval.

July 15, 2016: President Obama signed into law the FAA Reauthorization bill, extending the agency’s authority and aviation funding through September 30, 2017. Renamed as the “FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act of 2016,” the bill provides for continuation of critical aviation programs and includes new safety and security provisions but none of the many noise provisions that had been included in the original House and Senate FAA reauthorization bills.

July 13, 2016: New York Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand introduced the “Quiet Communities Act of 2016” to re-establish the Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC) within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which would transfer the jurisdiction and oversight of airplane noise from the FAA to the EPA.

July 12, 2016: Arizona Reps. Schweikert and Gallego introduced H.R. 5744, the NextGen Flight Path Review and Notification Act of 2016, which seeks to amend the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 to allow for the review of categorical exclusions (Cat Ex) previously granted for Next Gen flight path changes. The bill would require that the FAA notify and consult with airport operators about new procedures and appropriate community involvement practices and, that the FAA review previous Cat Ex decisions made between Feb. 14, 2012 and Sept. 30, 2014.

April 27, 2016: Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA) and 16 members of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus, which includes Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ) introduced H.R. 5075, the Airplane Impacts Mitigation (AIM) Act of 2016. Under the proposed legislation, the FAA Administrator would be required to enter into an agreement with a school of public health to conduct a study of the health impacts of NextGen flights on residents’ health, including asthma exacerbation, sleep disturbance, stress and high blood pressure. The study would be limited to residents living partly or wholly within the land area underneath the flight paths most frequently used by aircraft flying, including during takeoff or landing, at an altitude lower than 10,000 feet. In addition, the AIM Act mandates that the study will focus on residents in Boston, Chicago, New York, Northern California, Phoenix, and up to three other metro areas that would be selected by the FAA Administrator and must contain at least one international airport

April 19, 2016 - Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake applaud Senate passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act, which includes their language that addresses concerns raised by residents of Phoenix about recent flight path changes at Sky Harbor International Airport. Sen. McCain's Release.

April 12, 2016 - 
The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a FAA Reauthorization Act amendment introduced by Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain requiring an airspace management advisory committee to review and report on the FAA’s process for developing proposals that impact airspace changes. Sen. Flake’s release Sen. McCain’s Release

April 6, 2016 - Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake spoke to the U.S. Senate urging support for the FAA Reauthorization Bill, which includes their language addressing concerns raised by Phoenix residents. Read the release with links to video of the senators' addresses. Also see a video and transcript of Sen. Flake's address to the Senate.

March 23, 2016 -
Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta urging the agency to reach a solution during an upcoming court-ordered mediation with the City of Phoenix and community representatives regarding the increase in flight path noise around Sky Harbor. Read the letter.

March 16, 2016 
Press release from Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake applauding 
the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee for passing the FAA Reauthorization Bill, which includes their language addressing concerns raised by Phoenix residents. Read a full summary of Senator McCain and Flake’s efforts to address the concerns of Phoenix residents impacted by the FAA’s flight path changes here.

March 9, 2016 Press release from Sen. John McCain applauding Senate committee on addressing flight path changes in FAA Reauthorization Bill.

March 1, 2016 Press release from Congressman Ruben Gallego calling on Congress to address the aircraft noise issue.  Full speech available on YouTube.

February 25, 2016  - Press releases from Senator Flake and Senator McCain about the introduction of a new bill requiring stakeholder input on flight path changes.  See text of the legislation.

February 12, 2016
-
Senators McCain and Flake distribute a press release affirming the FAA's commitments to address flight path changes at Phoenix Sky Harbor.

February 4, 2016 - 
US Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) unveiled his draft FAA reauthorization bill on the Congress webpage, where the most recent version is posted and where readers can sign up for alerts on the bill.Included in section 137 and section 138 of the bill is language on FAA flight path changes, including a proposed review of certain categorical exclusions such as the one the FAA used for Sky Harbor. Section 604also calls for a review of the effects of aircraft noise on communities.

February 4, 2016 - Rep. Ruben Gallego distributed a press release applauding provisions in the FAA Reauthorization Bill.

 February 3, 2016 Sen. John McCain sent out a press release applauding the House Committee for addressing Phoenix flight path changes in FAA Reauthorization Bill.

January 29, 2016 - Reps. Ruben Gallego, Kyrsten Sinema, David Schweikert, and Ann Kirkpatrick sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta urging compliance with Congressional mandates to mitigate the impact of unacceptable levels of aircraft noise in Phoenix. Read the letter.

January 29, 2016 - Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake sent a letter to the heads of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation urging them to address Phoenix flight-path changes in the FAA Reauthorization Bill. Read the press release. Read the letter.

January 12, 2016 - The Airport Noise Report published a recap on the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, which includes language requiring the FAA to improve the agency’s methods for involving communities and airports in its implementation of NextGen Performance-based Navigation (PBN) procedures, to review and update the agency’s Community Involvement Manual as it relates to public outreach, and to “complete and implement a plan which enhances community involvement techniques and proactively addresses concerns associated with performance based navigation projects.” Report excerpt.

January 11, 2016 - Rep. Ruben Gallego posted on Dec. 30, 2015 on his Facebook page about the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress that would require the FAA to take a more proactive role to improve public engagement related to new flight paths. Facebook post.

December 28 Sen. John McCain sent a letter dated Dec. 22, 2015 to FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta urging the agency’s prompt compliance with recently passed legislation to work closely with communities affected by flight path noise. Letter

December 16 - AAAE Legislative Update:  Leaders in Congress have finally agreed on a bill to fund the government for the rest of FY 2016, clearing the decks for lawmakers to pass the measure and then adjourn for the rest of the year. Text of the "omnibus" funding bill was released around 1 a.m. this morning after a protracted negotiation.

Government funding is currently scheduled to expire tonight at midnight, but the House today passed an extension through December 22. The Senate is expected to pass the short-term extension today, sending the stopgap to the President to ensure no lapse in government funding occurs.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Thursday on the omnibus - along with a separate package of expiring tax provisions. The Senate is expected to take up the legislative package shortly after the House acts. Both chambers of Congress are aiming to adjourn for the rest of the year at week's end, although that timeline could slip some if individual senators decide to delay a final vote in that chamber.

Noise Mitigation: The explanatory statement on the omnibus notes that "The FAA must take a more proactive role in engaging communities that are impacted by these new departure and arrival procedures, especially when the agency chooses to utilize a categorical exclusion as part of the environmental review process. The agreement does not include provisions related to specific communities, but rather includes broad language requiring FAA to update its community involvement manual and implementation plan. lmproved community outreach is one part of the solution. Investments in new technologies that will reduce noise and other environmental impacts caused by aircraft are equally important. In that regard, the agreement continues to include robust funding for the Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) program."

November 23 – Several Valley mayors including Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, the entire Phoenix City Council and Sky Harbor’s Aviation Director have signed onto a letter asking members of the U.S. Senate to keep the amendment offered by Sens. McCain and Flake that would help ensure communities are heard on FAA flight path changes. Letter

November 19 – Senate action on bill which includes McCain-Flake flight path amendment is on hold until at least Monday, November 30. Article

November 18 – The US Senate is expected to vote on the FY 2016 DOT/FAA appropriations bill. The Senate is working on the FY 2016 funding Ruben Gallego Letter bill for the Department of Transportation, which includes the FAA. Senators Flake and McCain have offered an amendment which would require the FAA to give a 90 day review to any future flight path procedure changes and require the FAA to review anyflight path changes made on or after February 14, 2012 if an airport requests such a review. This review would include considering alternate flight paths. Amendment McCain Press Release Nowakowski Press Release

November 16 – California congressional representatives released the FAA response addressing constituent complaints about air traffic noise. Link

November 5
– Congressman Ruben Gallego introduced a bill seeking to improve the flight path change process by allowing the FAA to give preference to certain areas to ensure land compatibility. It also seeks to have regional FAA Community Ombudsmen act as liaisons with affected noise communities.  The bill would require the FAA to reconsider flight path changes made after February 14, 2012, if flight paths are having an adverse impact on residents. Bill

November 3 – Reps. Ruben Gallego, Ann Kirkpatrick, David Schweikert and Kyrsten Sinema sent a letter to Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake seeking support on legislation that would address aircraft noise affecting Phoenix residents. Letter

September 15 - Arizona Senators McCain and Flake worked on a proposed amendment which would require the FAA to review the categorical exclusions granted at airports where NextGen flight procedures were adopted on or after February 14, 2012.  The review would occur if it is found that any flight path changes have had “a significant effect on the human environment.”  City Memo 

On July 15, members of the Quiet Skies Caucus sent recommendations to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ahead of the Introduction of the FAA 2015 Reauthorization Act. Press release and Letter

On July 1, Congressional members Ruben Gallego, David Schweikert, Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema sent a letter to Senators McCain and Flake urging them to insert the language of Congressman Gallego’s amendment to the House Transportation and Housing & Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill onto the equivalent Senate appropriation’s bill.  The Gallego amendment would prevent the FAA from proceeding with the redesign of the regional airspace around Sky Harbor Airport until the flight path issues are resolved in the local neighborhoods. Letter

On July 1, Senators McCain & Flake urged the Senate Committee to consider policies addressing concerns about flight path changes at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Press Release

On June 4, US Representatives Ruben Gallego, David Schweikert and Kyrsten Sinema added an amendment to the FAA appropriations bill that could put a halt to the Phoenix Metroplex Airspace Redesign. Gallego Press release.Phoenix Press Release.

On June 4, Reps. Ruben Gallego and David Schweikert introduced an amendment to the FAA appropriations bill to prevent the FAA from proceeding with the redesign of the regional airspace around Sky Harbor Airport until the flight path issues are resolved in the local neighborhoods. Video

The six point strategy approved by the Phoenix City Council comes after a series of communications and other actions by City leaders and members of Congress, which are listed below in date order. (For additional information, see the Background Information on the Legal Action page.)

  • As part of the APPROPRIATIONS ACT 2015 Congress directed the FAA to work expeditiously to identify appropriate mitigation measures as a result of new departure routes out of PHX. This language is contained in a rider that was placed in the 2015 Appropriations Act (see full explanation.)
  • On Sept. 30, 2014 Congressmen Ed Pastor and Tom Latham sent a letter to the FAA requesting relief for residents.
  • On Oct.21, 2014 Congressman Ed Pastor sent a letter to the FAA Administrator as follow up to a public meeting on new flight paths
  • On February 20, 2015, U.S. Senator Jeff Flake sent this letter to the FAA.
  • On March 9, 2015 The FAA notified the PHX Aviation Director of an estimated completion date of Sept. 3, 2015 for the Dec 22 public records request.
  • Memo from the City Manager: On March 19, 2015 the Phoenix City Manager sent this memo to the Mayor and City Council advising them of an internal investigation.
  • Congressman Ruben Gallego sent this letter on March 24, 2015. sent a letter
  • On April 2, 2015 Congressman Ruben Gallego, Congressman Raul Grijalva, Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick and Congressman David Schweikert sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, asking for a quick resolution to the disruption caused by acute levels of aircraft noise resulting from flight path changes at Phoenix Sky Harbor.
  • On April 16, 2015 Rep. Ruben Gallego released this statement in regards to the FAA’s proposed alternate routes.
  • On April 30, 2015 US Senator John McCain sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

 

Legislative Contacts


Arizona

Member Name DC Phone
Senator John McCain (R- AZ) 202-224-2235
Senator Jeff Flake (R- AZ) 202-224-4521



District

Name

Committee Assignment

1

Kirkpatrick, Ann

Agriculture
Transportation

2

McSally, Martha

Armed Services
Homeland Security

3

Grijalva, Raul

Education and the Workforce
Natural Resources

4

Gosar, Paul A.

Natural Resources
Oversight and Government

5

Salmon, Matt

Education and the Workforce
Foreign Affairs

6

Schweikert, David

Financial Services

7

Gallego, Ruben

Armed Services
Natural Resources

8

Franks, Trent

Armed Services
the Judiciary

9

Sinema, Kyrsten

Financial Services


Additional Arizona State Legislature Contacts