FAA: No more changes to JWA departure path

Federal Aviation Administration officials told a group of Newport Beach city leaders and residents Wednesday that the FAA would not make any additional adjustments to a contentious John Wayne Airport departure path.

Residents upset about the year-old satellite-navigated route asked the administration to change the paths of some planes in an attempt to decrease noise, and to send some planes farther offshore before turning down the coast.

The FAA, however, has already adjusted the procedures twice in response to residents' concerns. While the aviation officials said they would take suggestions for a new route on the drawing board, which will apply to different flights, they said the existing path was set for now.

"Did everybody walk out of the meeting happy? No," said FAA spokesman Ian Gregor. "But everybody knows that we listened to the concerns of every community around the airport and tried to address them if we could."

He said that current plane technology doesn't allow pilots to zig-zag above Upper Newport Bay, a method that might reduce noise heard at some homes along the bluffs.

Gregor added that air traffic controllers can decide where planes turn after they pass a certain point, but pilots should only turn for safety reasons, not for convenience.

"We reminded our controllers," he said, after residents in Newport Coast, Corona del Mar and parts of Laguna Beach said they noticed more planes flying over their homes.

Residents who called for the meeting may not be giving up quite yet. Bob Pastore, a Cameo Shores resident, former TWA pilot and member of the TWA board of directors, said he was organizing representatives from various community associations affected by airport noise.

The nascent group, called the Newport Beach Coalition of Community Assns., will be meeting soon to consider "other avenues" to make changes, he said.

Before the FAA summit, some residents enlisted the support of Rep. John Campbell (R-Irvine). It is unclear if his intervention helped their cause.

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff and Councilwoman Leslie Daigle, who arranged the FAA meeting, both said Friday they were impressed with the agency's willingness to listen.

The city is negotiating with airport and FAA officials about John Wayne's passenger limits, so city leaders have been delicate in their flight path requests.

"There's a lot of respect on both sides," Gregor said.


Twitter: @mreicher

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