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E. Bronx plane fix on holding pattern

Bronx Times

Fasten your seatbelts. Those unfriendly skies in the east Bronx just got a little meaner.

Forget about seeing a reduction of airplane traffic and noise over Country Club and Throggs Neck.

The Federal Aviation Administration says its hands are tied when it comes to the ongoing issue that’s gotten worse since residents have noticed airbuses flying at a lower altitude these days.

In response to Community Board 10, which demanded in early May that flights touching down LaGuardia Airport deviate elsewhere, the FAA sent a seemingly dismissive response letter.

“I thought it was kind of sarcastic,” said Ken Kearns, CB10 district manager who initially sent the letter, suggesting the FAA reroute planes to the East River.

But the agency’s regional administrator, Carmine Gallo, dismissed the idea altogether, concluding the FAA can’t just reroute planes “to avoid your community.”

“We found [planes] could conflict with arrival and/or departure traffic at the other surrounding airports, “ wrote Gallo, adding the results “would incease delays, increase the traffic complexity, and introduce new risk to the National Airspace System.”

Kearns was surprised by the response, given the board’s success rate in managing community issues with other regulatory agencies.

“We asked for a dialogue,” said Kearns. “Whenever we ask for an open dialogue with a government agency, it was something they respected.”

And while Kearns was looking forward to bouncing off solutions, the FAA did not extend a hand.

As for requesting noise monitors that measures the pitch of jet engine planes, the FAA said those matters are left to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which has a noise abatement program.

The response has Community Board 10 seeking the help of other agencies who can respond to a quality of life issue locals said has gotten worse over the years.

Flight records show a steady increase in the number of arrivals to LGA, considered the nation’s 27th busiest airport.

Last year, roughly 185,000 flights flew past the two neighborhoods and into one of the busiest airports in the country.

Contributing to the congested skyways is the airport’s use of a sophisticated Global Positioning System that crams flights into the airspace just far enough apart to avoid a midair crash.

With the FAA’s response on file, Kearns intends to get the agency’s attention with help from Congressman Joe Crowley, who represents the area.

Reach David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or dcruz@cnglocal.com.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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