Ruling against the Federal Aviation Administration, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal found that the FAA violated key environmental laws when it changed flight patterns for aircraft coming into Los Angeles International Airport.
Residents in Culver City organized “Fight the Flight,” an affiliated group of neighbors, over the increase in noise and the lack of altitude from many flights heading into Los Angeles International Airport. Despite the increase in the number and the proximity of planes in recent years, the FAA has denied any change in policy.
As a result of the decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the FAA must undertake a proper environmental analysis that should have taken place prior to implementing the changes in 2018.
Two years ago, the City of Los Angeles and the City of Culver City joined to sue the FAA, alleging the agency made changes to flight patterns with neither environmental review nor public input.
On July 8, 2021, the appeals panel held that the FAA violated three key federal environmental laws by implementing the flight pattern changes at LAX as part of its rollout of its Next Generation Air Transportation System: the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and a section of the Department of Transportation Act.
The court ordered the FAA to undertake proper NEPA and NHPA analysis and to consult with the city of Los Angeles regarding the Transportation Act.
While the “too low and too loud” flight patterns will not be changed as a result of the ruling, the court requires that the FAA undertake a ‘more transparent and public process’ moving forward.