FAA to allow more air tours at Grand Canyon

FLAGSTAFF, AZ - Air tour operators that use quiet technology aircraft will be able to fly more people over the Grand Canyon.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it will release more than 1,700 air tour allocations that had been abandoned to those operators this year, as long as they don't increase noise in the park overall.

That would bring the total number of air tours allowed per year to nearly 94,000. FAA data shows almost 55,200 trips were conducted in 2012.

A massive transportation bill passed in 2012 requires the FAA and the National Park Service to come up with incentives for quiet air technology at the canyon.

The FAA determines whether aircraft is considered quiet by using a formula that takes into account noise certification levels and number of seats.

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