City of Phoenix announces plan to sue the FAA over route changes

Before the flight paths were changed last year, planes leaving Sky Harbor to the west would turn after the U.S. 60/Grand Avenue, but after September they started turning earlier and follow along the U.S. 60. Then in September they started turning earlier, following the I-17 north. That led to an outcry from people living in many historic districts on the new flight path. Those complaints have led to the lawsuit by the City of Phoenix.

Signs against the flight path changes have been popping up in historic Phoenix neighborhoods after the FAA changed the flight paths eight months ago.

People living here say they noticed it right away.

"I have not been able to sleep, or get a full sleep, with the constant interruptions throughout the middle of the night," said Nicole Marquez.

Now the City of Phoenix is taking the unusual step of suing the FAA. City leaders say they had no choice after months of trying to resolve the issue.

"We've come to the full realization that they're not going to engage in meaningful conversation, short of litigation. So that is why we've decided to file the lawsuit," said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

"We're asking them to go back to the old path and come out to the neighborhood, come out to the residents, and find some happy medium that will be allright for the citizens and for the airlines," said Michael Nowakowski.

Residents have sent in thousands of noise complaints since the FAA made the changes to the flight paths last September as part of its nationwide "NextGen" program. It's a program designed to save fuel and make travel more efficient.

"We were backed into a corner, and we had to show that we will advocate for the residents of Phoenix, and today was a necessary step in order to be the best advocates we could for the people of Phoenix," said Stanton.

The City of Phoenix is not asking for any money in the lawsuit, just for the FAA to find a happy medium and make things quieter for the people living in those neighborhoods.

Mayor Stanton admitted it could take quite a while, before any changes are made.