Ruling overturns FAA rerouting of Phoenix departure paths

A court ruling overturns the Federal Aviation Administration's 2014 order that set new flight paths and procedures for aircraft departing Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix.

The 2-1 ruling Tuesday by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agrees with claims by Phoenix and a historic neighborhood association that the FAA's action was "arbitrary and capricious."

Many residents complained about increased aircraft noise after the FAA implemented the new flight paths as part of an effort to streamline aircraft routing for safety and fuel efficiency.

"These houses were built for communities for being outside, being with your neighbor, being in your backyard," said Brent Kleinman, who lives in a historic neighborhood in Downtown Phoenix. "Having airplanes fly over every minute, two minutes really hampers that."

For people like Kleinman, the verdict handed down on Tuesday is music to their ears.

"We're very happy with how this turned out," said Kleinman.

At the present time, the next steps have yet to be determined.

"We don't know exactly what happens next, but what we do know is that the flight paths being flown today are a violation of Federal law, violating National Historic Preservation Act and others, and we know today's flight path is not allowed," said Assistant Aviation Director Deborah Ostreicher.

The city is now consulting its attorneys to figure out if, how, and when the flight paths will be changed back to the old routes.