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FAA’s Airspace Redesign: The Yardley/Robbinsville “Flip-Flop”

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We issued our review of FAA's actions to inform Congress and the public about the Yardley/Robbinsville (NJ) “Flip-Flop.” The review was undertaken at the request of Rep. Mike Ferguson, and we submitted our letter response to him on May 16. Part of an FAA national initiative to reduce intolerable airline delays in the summer 2000, the Flip-Flop swapped (flip-flopped) air traffic flows into Newark International and LaGuardia International Airports. FAA misjudged the reaction the Flip-Flop would generate and should have placed increased emphasis on communicating the proposed change to the citizens and elected officials of New Jersey. The reaction illustrates how even modest airspace changes can affect the public when aircraft noise is shifted from one location to another. We recommended that FAA document how it determines whether an airspace change is controversial and do a better job of documenting its meetings with Congress.