airplane waiting for departure in airport terminal

As part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Metroplex initiative to coordinate airspace around congested metropolitan areas, the agency will implement its Denver-area plan on Thursday after many months of study and protests from localities.

“The comprehensive project will use satellite navigation to move air traffic more safely and efficiently through the area,” the FAA said. “It includes 29 new routes and modifications to 15 existing routes.” The reconfiguration is also essential for the adoption of NextGen, an air traffic control system that will require new instrument flight procedures and technologies.

The Denver Metroplex plan began in 2014 and includes six airports from Fort Collins to Centennial, including Denver International Airport. The FAA’s environmental study encompassed roughly the eastern half of the state, assessing the plan's effects below 10,000 feet. The FAA found that there would be no significant environmental impact from the changes. Arapahoe County disagreed, with the Centennial Airport CEO alleging that the agency “consistently misapplies, misinterprets or ignores” potential increases in noise and pollution.

CPR also reported that the county along with two other jurisdictions filed a petition against the FAA last week asking a federal judge to review the agency’s environmental findings. As part of its assessment, the FAA concluded that farmland, natural resources, light pollution, water, and the health and safety of children would see no effect from the new flight paths.

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