Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan orders lawsuit over airline flights noise

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday ordered the state's top legal official to sue a federal agency over new airline flight routes that the Republican said have made many Maryland families "miserable in their own homes."

A lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration's NextGen program should include routes for both Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and Reagan National Airport, Hogan wrote to Democratic Attorney General Brian Frosh.

"This program has made many Maryland families miserable in their own homes with louder and more frequent flights which now rattle windows and doors," the governor wrote.

A majority of Maryland's population of about 6 million lives around the two airports. For example, there are about 2 million people living in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, which are adjacent to the nation's capital. Roughly 2.2 million live in Baltimore city, Baltimore County, Howard County and Anne Arundel County, where Baltimore's airport is located.

A spokeswoman for Frosh said the attorney general is considering a lawsuit.

"The Attorney General has been very concerned for some time about the impact of the new flight patterns on many of our citizens," Raquel Coombs, the spokeswoman, wrote in an email. "The office has been in conversations with both the Hogan administration and the FAA to address the issue."

The FAA implemented new flight paths under the NextGen program nationally in September 2014 to streamline aircraft routing for safety and fuel efficiency at airports around the country. It was fully implemented in Maryland in early 2015.

Late last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a ruling forcing the FAA to abandon its decision to set new flight paths at Arizona's Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. A three-judge panel agreed that the FAA's decision in 2014 was "arbitrary and capricious." The FAA reacted to the ruling by saying, "We will carefully review the decision before deciding on our next steps."

Other cities were residents have complained of noise amid the new flight paths include Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Boston.