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Maryland counties fume over BWI flight patterns

Howard County wants flight patterns at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport returned to where they were before the installation of an upgraded control system four years ago, according to a petition with the federal government.

County Executive Allan H. Kittleman, in a statement released Wednesday evening, expressed frustration with the Federal Aviation Administration and what he describes as lack of cooperation. That exasperation extends to a recent decision by the FAA to stop its involvement in the BWI Community Roundtable.

“Many people who live around the airport have had their lives disrupted by the considerable noise from flights taking new routes at lower altitudes. …Even programs at our Robinson Nature Center have been negatively impacted by the noise, and that facility is 10 miles from the airport,” Kittleman said. “We have exhausted all attempts to discuss this with the FAA and come to any sort of reasonable resolution.”

Aggravation over flight paths dates back to the installation of the NextGen Flight Control System in 2014, and the subsequent change in routes. The control system, according to the FAA, is aimed at improving capacity, performance and efficiency.

The federal government claims the program has delivered $4.7 billion in benefits to passengers and airlines by reducing travel time, and fuel consumption, dropped carrier costs and made air travel safer.

Howard County isn’t the only jurisdiction that’s unhappy with flight patterns. The Anne Arundel County Council, according to the Capital Gazette, is considering a resolution asking the FAA to revert to old flight routes.

“These new flight patterns are impacting communities that did not previously have to deal with airport noise,” the bill’s sponsor Councilman Chris Trumbauer told the newspaper. “The intent of this is just to add to the burden to put on FAA to not only justify their new flight paths but hopefully to accommodate the affected citizenry that’s been having to deal with the consequences of this.”

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