NextGen Flight Paths Give Rise to Noise Complaints

Maryland Aviation Administration requests a return to old airport feeder routes in the face of public outcry.

Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport
An aerial view of Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport, where NextGen flight paths have caused an increase in noise complaints.Wikimedia Commons/Strongbad1982

Modernization is not always a good thing as residents near major airports around the country have found out. Recently, new flight paths that were implemented as part of the modernized NextGen system have caused a stir with residents in Maryland and other parts of the country as more efficient routes are being implemented. The complaints have caused the Maryland Aviation Administration to request the FAA return to the old flight paths, the Capital Gazette reported.

NextGen flight paths were rolled out at the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, located south of Baltimore, Maryland, in fall 2014. In a meeting last week at Severna Park, the director of Maryland Aviation Administration’s Planning and Engineering division Paul Shank said the FAA has put too much emphasis on studying how flight paths around the country would save fuel without studying the impact of aircraft noise below 3,000 feet.

Jonathan Dean, a spokesman from BWI, said noise complaints have more than doubled since the new routes were implemented, from 835 in 2014 to 1,849 in 2015. The Washington Post has also reported dramatic increases in noise complaints associated with the NextGen routes in California, Arizona, Minnesota, New York and Illinois.