Washington - Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), dissatisfied with the Federal Aviation Administration's response to concerns he had lodged, today demanded from the acting-chief of the FAA clearer, more precise answers on a number of issues confronting the New Jersey airspace. Among the topics on which Senator Menendez is seeking information are:
· The sharp increase in planes landing at Newark Liberty International Airport with only minimum fuel remaining in the tank
· The airspace redesign affecting flight paths at the New York City and Philadelphia region airports, which has lead to collision danger and increased noise for residents
· The inadequate staffing of air traffic controllers, both in numbers and in experience.
Senator Menendez met with FAA Acting Administrator Robert Sturgell in December to raise these issues and was promised follow-up answers to many of them. Late last month, the FAA sent a letter to the Senator: http://menendez.senate.gov/pdf/012908FAAResponsetoMenendez.pdf, which he believed did not contain sufficient or specific answers.
"Many of the same questions I had about air safety in our region last year going into my face-to-face meeting with the acting Administrator, I still have today, even after their follow up response," said Senator Menendez. "I still haven't received specific or satisfactory answers on my concerns about the new flight paths, the amount of flights landing with minimum fuel left in their tanks or the shortage of air traffic controllers who have the experience to manage our crowded airspace. I'm not going to drop these concerns until the FAA either provides a better explanation or changes their approach to these issues."
Text of today's letter to acting-Administrator Sturgell below: http://menendez.senate.gov/pdf/020408LettertoSturgell.pdf.