DENVER, Colorado - The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact/Record of Decision for the Denver Metroplex project, according to the Denver Metroplex website.
The decision enables the agency to move forward with the project, which the FAA says will use cutting-edge satellite navigation to move air traffic more safely and efficiently through the area. Satellite-based routes will allow for more direct and efficient routing of aircraft into and out of Denver and surrounding airports, enhancing aviation safety and efficiency, and potentially reducing flight delays.
Prior to making the decision, the FAA says it conducted thorough environmental reviews, including 24 public workshops and approximately 78 stakeholder briefings in the Denver metro area. The agency also held two public comment periods totaling 75 days and evaluated and responded to more than 975 comments.
The FAA says it plans to implement the procedures on March 26, 2020.
The FAA's environmental review for the project reveals some people will experience slight noise decreases, some will see no changes, and some will experience small noise increases. Additionally, some people might see aircraft where they did not previously fly after the Denver Metroplex procedures are implemented.
Some flight track dispersion will continue to occur after the new procedures are implemented because the Metroplex project includes a number of existing procedures. In addition, the FAA says, air traffic controllers will need to occasionally vector aircraft for safety or efficiency reasons or to reroute them around weather systems.
A Metroplex is a geographic area covering several airports, serving major metropolitan areas and a diversity of aviation stakeholders such as NAS users, FAA, and other lines of business and airport operators. Congestion, airport activity in close geographical proximity, and other limiting factors such as environmental constraints combine to reduce efficiency in busy Metroplexes. More can be learned from this video.
In response to recommendations from the aviation community through RTCA's NextGen Mid-Term Implementation Task Force, the FAA is putting integrated NextGen capabilities in place to improve air traffic flow for an entire region, or metroplex.
The FAA has identified 21 metroplexes-geographic areas that include several commercial and general aviation airports in close proximity serving large metropolitan areas.
By optimizing airspace and procedures in the metroplex, the FAA says it provides solutions on a regional scale, rather than focusing on a single airport or set of procedures. The optimization plan takes into account all airports and airspace that support each metropolitan area as well as how air traffic in those areas interacts with other metroplexes. It considers myriad factors including safety, efficiency, capacity, access and environmental impact.
Using a consistent, repeatable approach, study teams of FAA and aviation community experts analyze the operational challenges of metroplexes and explore airspace and procedures optimization opportunities. Collaborative design and implementation teams then put in place the solutions the study teams recommend, including performance-based navigation procedures and airspace redesign.