Court fight continues over new flight paths

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Communities near the Potomac River have complained about increased air traffic over residential homes. (Brian Kapur/The Current/September 2016)

The Citizens Association of Georgetown and other community organizations are appealing a decision by a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals, which ruled their case against the Federal Aviation Administration regarding new flight paths for Reagan Washington National Airport had been filed too late.

The FAA had put a legal notice in The Washington Post about a study of flight paths around the region. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the deadline for filing the appeal was related to the publication of the legal notice.

The appeal argues that the FAA’s publication of the new departure routes was the relevant date for setting the time limits on appeals.

“Newspaper publication of legal notices should not discharge the FAA’s obligation to involve the community in its rule making,” the appeal claims. “The petitioners hope the panel which decided the case will review certain factual errors in its decision and proceed to review the merits of Petitioners’ claims and failing that providing an opportunity for the entire court to consider the case.”

The new flight patterns create considerable noise in Georgetown, the Palisades, and several other parts of the District as well as parts of Montgomery County, Md.