BURIEN, Wash. — Burien residents and city hall are fighting the FAA in federal court to stop flights from being diverted over the city.
The FAA started diverting slower propeller planes in summer 2016 to ease congestion. Residents say it creates noise, pollution and could lead to a midair crash.
The Quiet Skies Coalition formed, and with the city they sued the FAA to stop the 35-45 flight diversions a day when planes are taking off to the north.
The FAA temporarily stopped the automatic flight pattern last spring, but restarted the route last summer.
Coalition president Larry Cripe, a retired Alaska Airlines pilot, says the FAA was asked to do an environmental impact study but never did.
City Attorney Lisa Marshall says the FAA then decided the route was exempt from an environmental review.
Residents told KIRO 7's Alison Grande they are concerned about the noise, pollution and safety. They plan to speak at tonight's Burien City Council meeting.
As the parties fight in court, residents want the FAA to stop the flights over Burien until a decision is made.
The FAA told KIRO 7 it could not comment during pending litigation.
Most of the planes diverted over Burien belong to Alaska Airlines who issued a statement :
"The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) manages the airspace at all of the nation’s airports. It dictates the safe and efficient flow of arriving and departing aircraft. The FAA is the decision maker on airspace issues. For Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, safety is always our most important priority. Along with that focus, we also balance the need to efficiently get our guests to their destinations while minimizing noise and environmental impacts. There are continuing challenges to minimize flight delays for our guests at Sea-Tac, which is one of the fastest-growing airports in the country. We always want to be a good community partner and run a great airline for the many stakeholders who depend on us."
The Port of Seattle said the FAA is in charge of the airspace and said planes take off to the north, in the north flow, about 30 percent of time.
The Burien City Council Meeting starts at 7 p.m.
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