The FAA will begin redesigning the Southern California Metroplex airspace as soon as November, replacing dozens of existing conventional air traffic control procedures with new satellite-based versions. The implementation green light follows the agency’s finding last week that the changes to the massive Metroplex airspace should have no significant impact on current or future operations.
The plan is expected to update or eliminate instrument procedures that are sometimes decades old and no longer considered efficient due to their dependency on considerable ATC vectoring known to increase controller workload and air traffic delays.
Before the decision, the FAA’s environmental study calculated noise at more than 330,000 locations throughout the Southern California area and showed the proposed action would not result in any significant or reportable noise increases under the National Environmental Policy Act. Prior to the go-ahead, the FAA conducted 90 public meetings and stakeholder briefings, while evaluating more than 4,000 public comments.
In all, the Southern California Metroplex project will create 99 new satellite-based procedures, key components of the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). Updated instrument guidance will consist of 41 departures, 37 arrivals and 21 approaches while also increasing the number of entry and exit points into the region’s airspace. The efforts will affect most of Southern California, including six major and 15 satellite airports.
In response to early comments received, the agency developed one new arrival procedure and altered six others. With that kind of feedback under its belt, the FAA decided to roll out the new Metroplex procedures to the public for comment before they’re implemented. The redesign work, one of 12 either in progress or already completed around the United States, is expected to continue through April.