SMAAC is contacting citizen groups and municipal governments about joining in proposing National Airspace System revisions that would reduce average city-hub-city routes (miles and hours). This would:
- save fuel and reduce emissions,
- reduce FAA ATCT, TRACON and NextGen costs substantially,
- increase safety margins, and reduce the airfare disparity and neighborhood impacts being experienced in major-hub-airport cities and metro areas.
The FAA development of Next Gen En Route to increase usable airspace (by allowing aircraft to navigate safely outside of FAA radar-transponder service areas) was based on about 70- 75 hub airports (2007). Now --and since about March 2010 --the FAA is attempting to adapt more airport-to-airport routes to 35 to 40 hub airports by increasing actual flight operations/runway/hour.
The two expressions of the attempt are 1) using aircraft GPS navigation-autopilot routes for airport operaions and 2) complicating the development and deployment of NextGen. Both are uncertain, unmonitored, costly, risky and polluting. Lower departures and more routes, much more intrusive and polluting, are the ongoing result. The development and deployment of Next Gen Airport is delayed and is becoming unaffordable.
Anti-Airport-Noise groups have been protesting intrusive commercial overflights for decades. First at oft-used airports close to residential and other sensitive land-uses and later as national air traffic plans increased both active airport hours (night operations) and peak-hours. These groups share information through Aviation Watch and support each other generally. SMAAC works with Congressional staff and numerous Representatives and Senators.
Currently, FAA air traffic control changes caused numerous lawsuits, and these forced FAA and Congress to re-think policy and budget in FAA re-authorizations.
Currently, we are talking with groups in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington.
Welcome to the Special Metro Airports Analysis Consortium or SMAACUS!
The airline failures in the 2008-09 recession -- such as NWA bankruptcy --led to mergers and bail-outs that 'consolidated' connecting hubs and led to increased use/hour by airlines, particularly at peak hours, in an era of fewer operations per year.
FAA agreements with airport sponsors are based, impractically, on annual operational capacity, but airport ATC is necessarily managed in 15-minute intervals and documented as MAXIMUM (theoretically safe) possible runway operations per hour. In this, major airlines get two bites of the apple (FAA services subsidize airport improvements and airline competition is limited).