FAA Ditches Proposed Flight Path Change that Could Have Brought More Plane Noise to Bethesda Neighborhoods

Decision follows pushback from local residents


Airplane flying overhead


The Federal Aviation Administration has decided not to move forward with the Lazir B flight path plan that had the potential to route more air traffic closer to Bethesda communities near the Potomac River.

The agency announced it was formally cancelling the planned flight plan change in a Jan. 5 statement.

Dozens of Bethesda residents had attended community meetings with the federal agency over the past year to express their concerns about increasing airplane noise over their homes after the agency instituted the NextGen procedure, which narrowed planes’ flight paths departing Reagan National Airport so that aircraft flew over communities such as Bannockburn and Cabin John.

The Lazir-B adjustment would have moved the planes’ flight path from a location over Northern Virginia to the eastern banks of the Potomac River.

Proposed Lazir-B changes via FAA. (click to expand)

Local officials including then-Rep. Chris Van Hollen, County Executive Ike Leggett and County Council members Nancy Floreen and Roger Berliner sent FAA Administrator Michael Huerta a letter in October urging the federal agency not to move forward with Lazir-B.

In the Jan. 5 announcement, the agency stated, “The decision follows a review of public input, including comments gathered at community meetings, inquiries from political leaders and the public, and discussions in citizens’ advisory groups.”

The NextGen flight path remains in place—it’s a national effort by the FAA to streamline flight paths into air “superhighways” capable of handling the public’s increasing demand for more flights, according to FAA officials.

NextGen flight shifts have concentrated planes' flight paths over Bethesda communities along the Potomac River and near I-495.

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