Changes to Denver-area flight paths could affect thousands

Posted at 7:23 AM, Apr 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-06 00:53:05-04

DENVER -- The Federal Aviation Administration is proposing changes that will affect many people who live around the eight airports in the Denver area.

In one of the public workshops held Wednesday evening by the FAA to explain the possible changes, officials told residents the department wants to modify 30 of the current flight paths in the Denver area and add two more. Mark Phipps, with FAA's southern region, told Denver7 that of those 30 flight paths, 15-17 would actually move laterally.

“Aircraft noise is a big deal for some people and we try to be sensitive to that. And we want people to understand that we are trying to make this get gradually quieter and quieter,” said Phipps. "These procedures allow for fewer transmissions between controllers and pilots, allows the automation to fly the aircraft more often.” 

Denver is one of 12 cities across the county where changes could be implemented. Each identified "metroplex" area includes one or more commercial airport and several general aviation airports.

One of the proposed changes would push the flight path just a few miles northeast from Erie to Frederick. Even so, the FAA told Denver7, it’s likely the plane paths would be at higher altitudes, helping reduce the noise.

Erie resident Keith Barr liked the sound of that.

“The traffic will move slightly further north and so there will be no bad effect for us.”

There are several meetings and phases ahead of the proposed plans, but Phipps wants people to understand the community's opinions and concerns are important.

“You can never guarantee how anybody’s personal experience is. The airplanes are somewhere, but the goal is for the overall experience to be better.”

Denver7 was not able to confirm the exact details and changes in location for every proposed flight path, as the information is only available by map.

The plan also includes goals to use satellite technology to make flights more direct so planes use less fuel and have fewer emissions.

The change in flight paths will be small, covering a few miles. But those few miles could be a new area not used to seeing planes directly overhead. 

The FAA has determined those changes could affect people in Denver, Aurora, Boulder, Erie, Parker, Greenwood Village, Littleton, Broomfield, Commerce City and Loveland.

The government is holding public workshops to explain the possible changes in each of those cities. For a list of the upcoming workshops, click here.

Officials said the changes would take place as early as the spring of 2019, but the changes would follow several phases, including studies and more community output meetings. 


Sign up for Denver7 email alerts to stay informed about breaking news and daily headlines.

Or, keep up-to-date by following Denver7 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.