Skip to main content
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Logo

Tempe Flight Paths

Protecting Tempe Neighborhoods

Aircraft departing Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport follow a designated path over Tempe – designed to protect residents from excessive noise. They increase their altitude as they follow the Salt River bed and fly all the way to the 101 freeway, before turning.

The airlines follow this flight path because of a 1994 intergovernmental agreement between Phoenix and Tempe. This agreement prohibits all residential developments in a high-noise corridor (currently 1.2 square miles in size) and  prevents airliners from turning sooner and flying lower over neighborhoods around the Airport.

When this flight path was established, Tempe agreed not to allow residential directly under it. Now, Tempe leaders are considering breaking that agreement and allowing up to 2,100 residential units for projects such as the Modera Rio Salado and the Tempe Entertainment District. This could lead to significant flight path changes over your neighborhood.

PHX Facts

  • Arriving flight tracks are expected to fly over the proposed development as close as 400 feet from aircraft wheels to rooftops
  • Residents in the proposed developments can expect flights arriving and departing over their homes as frequently as every 60 seconds during the day.
  • The entire development is contained within the high impact noise contour.
  • Proposed mitigation tools such as sound insulation do not make the proposed land use compatible with airport operations.


How can Phoenix Sky Harbor continue to defend this flight path to the FAA and the airlines if Tempe begins allowing residential units directly underneath it? Watch this video to see what could be flying over your neighborhood.

Phoenix is reaching out to Tempe to find a solution. If you would like to be a part of that discussion and receive updates, please join our mailing list.

Additional details and timeline of events are available at