BETHESDA, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Montgomery County officials said they felt blindsided after the Federal Aviation Administration proposed plans for new aircraft routes at Reagan National Airport amid complaints from residents in Bethesda and along the Potomac River that aircraft noise is making their neighborhoods unlivable.
County officials said the arrival routes over Bethesda could change on August 15 and departures in January 2020.
Montgomery Councilmember Andrew Freidson told FOX 5 he expected a plane noise solution from the FAA, but, instead, he said the noise may get even worse.
“Totally blindsided us in Montgomery County. It is outrageous. It doubles down on a disastrous policy and completely flies in the face of the community working group that’s supposed to be there to provide community input,” Friedson exclaimed to FOX 5’s Tom Fitzgerald.
During a recent meeting, the FAA proposed a new plan for landing airplanes at the airport that could mean increased noise for 200,000 residents who live in Bethesda, Potomac and Cabin John neighborhoods close to the Potomac River.
Noise complaints have soared since 2015 and that’s when the FAA started new flight paths to reduce fuel costs and streamline flight patterns. The FAA says the new plan comes in response to Secret Service concerns that planes were flying too close to restricted airspace around the Lincoln Memorial.
The FAA released the following statement to FOX 5: "The agency and the Secret Service last week briefed the proposed route changes in detail to the working group and residents. The FAA heard the concerns voiced by the community and is currently evaluating them."
Arlington County officials have teamed up with Montgomery County to press the noise issue with the FAA. Virginia Congressman Don Beyer’s office described the FAA’s response to his questions about noise complaints as “disappointing.”