May 12, 2020

The FAA has started its draft environmental assessment (EA) of the South-Central Florida Metroplex project and expects to issue a determination in September. NBAA plans to provide input to the agency as it moves forward with plans to redesign the airspace to make it more efficient.

A key goal of the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System is the improvement of traffic around complex metropolitan areas (metroplexes) by using precision satellite-based navigation to increase traffic flow, decrease congestion, reduce the complexity and communication for air traffic controllers and pilots, and enhance safety. The South-Central Florida Metroplex project will assess traffic flow at 21 airports in the region.

“The FAA has not updated many of the air traffic procedures for Central and South Florida airports in years. While the procedures are safe, they no longer are the most efficient due to advances in technology,” notes the FAA in its fact sheet for the project. “The South-Central Florida Metroplex will develop more direct and efficient satellite-based routes into and out of major airports, enhancing safety and flight efficiency. The metroplex project also will modify some existing procedures at these airports to ensure that they seamlessly connect to the heavily traveled Atlantic Coast routes between the Northeastern U.S. and Florida,” the agency adds.

During the first two weeks of June, the FAA will hold 12 virtual public workshops on the draft EA. During the workshops, the FAA will provide an overview of the draft EA, and environmental and ATC experts will be available to answer questions. Review the FAA’s draft environmental assessment for more details.

The 60-day public comment period on the South-Central Florida Metroplex project ends July 10.

“Despite the pressures of the current environment, the FAA realizes the criticality of involving the public and industry in this important process of redesigning the busy airspace in the South-Central Florida Metroplex,” said Heidi Williams, NBAA’s director of air traffic services and infrastructure. “NBAA will be actively involved in the upcoming meetings and, as with every other metroplex project, NBAA will continue to keep members updated on the latest developments in routes, procedures and implementation,” she added.