PHX Sky Harbor Airport launches complaints app

Posted at 5:22 PM, Feb 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-02 22:32:51-05

Are you fed up with noise from incoming and outgoing planes? There’s an app for that.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport announced Tuesday that Arizonans can now submit airplane noise concerns through the airport's mobile app

To access the app, users have to go to the Sky Harbor website on their Android or iPhone and click on the link for the app. There, users can enter their contact information, the time and date of the noisy aircraft and whether they want an email or phone response. 

App users can also file complaints concerning loud planes around Deer Valley and Goodyear airports. They can even break the complaint down by type of aircraft, from helicopter to commercial jet. 

"This is just another tool," Sky Harbor spokeswoman Julie Rodriguez said. 

From Sept. 18, 2014, through Dec. 31, 2015, the airport received 27,449 complaints from 1,681 households. 

The majority of the complaints are noise-related, but others involve environmental concerns, such as an airplane that left residue, or something as simple as why a helicopter was circling overhead. 

The complaints are likely the result of the Federal Aviation Administration changing flight paths at the airport without formal notice to airport officials in Sept. 2014. The changes are meant to modernize flight patterns as part of the FAA's NextGen system. 

"If you're under the flight path, it's one aircraft after another," Rodriguez said. 

According to Rodriguez, complaints are concentrated in three areas - northwest of Downtown Phoenix along or to the east of Grand Avenue, the Laveen area and in the northeast Valley near Tatum and Pinnacle Peak roads.

The latter did not surprise Jordan Feld, who is a deputy aviation director for planning and environmental at Sky Harbor. He said the north Scottsdale area has very little ambient noise, so even airplanes at 10,000 feet have an affect on residents. 

"If you're dealing with no other noise in the area, you're going to be aggrieved by it," Feld said. 

Arizona politicians have lobbied in the past week over the continued problems with the flight path changes. 

Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake sent a joint letter to two Congressional committees last week urging them to include language about the changes in the FAA's reauthorization bill.

And, state representatives Ruben Gallego, Kyrsten Sinema, David Schweikert and Ann Kirkpatrick also sent a letter to FAA administrator Michael Huerta, expecting the agency to "mitigate the impact of unacceptable levels of aircraft noise on the Arizonans."

"The FAA is maintaining an ongoing dialogue with congressional offices on the flight path matter," FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told ABC15. 

The FAA has also faced some legal heat over the flight path changes. The city of Phoenix filed a petition in federal Appeals Court last June, challenging the legality of the FAA's decision. In July, several Phoenix neighborhoods filed a similar petition before the court combined the cases in November. 

Legal briefs are expected to be filed by both the city and the FAA by May.