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Washington city wins lawsuit against FAA over flight path

UPDATED: Wed., Dec. 11, 2019

An American Airlines plane taxis near a group of planes from Alaska Airlines, Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. A city in Washington state has won a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration aimed at forcing the redrawing of a flight path at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. (Ted S. Warren / AP)
An American Airlines plane taxis near a group of planes from Alaska Airlines, Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. A city in Washington state has won a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration aimed at forcing the redrawing of a flight path at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. (Ted S. Warren / AP)
Associated Press

SEATTLE – A city in Washington state has won a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration aimed at forcing the redrawing of a flight path at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month in favor of the city of Burien, west of the airport, The Seattle Times reported.

The 2018 lawsuit contended the FAA did not properly consider the environmental impact of routing some planes in a narrow band over the city.

The agency will need to “consider the potential cumulative impact of all relevant reasonably foreseeable future actions,” the ruling said.

That will include a $4.5 billion set of projects planned to accommodate an additional 40,000 takeoffs and departures annually at Sea-Tac by 2027, officials said.

The FAA declined comment except to say the agency is reviewing the court’s decision.

The number of flights in and out of Sea-Tac has risen by nearly 33% since 2010. Last year nearly 50 million passengers passed through the airport, the eighth-busiest in the U.S., officials said.

Burien previously sued the FAA in 2016 involving a flight pattern that directed up to 40 turboprop airplanes daily over the city, generally at altitudes under 3000 feet (914 meters.)

That lawsuit led to a temporary halt of the flight pattern until the FAA issued a document explaining it did not believe the turboprops’ route had adverse effects on Burien.

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