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"FAA rules Stage 2 jet ban at Naples airport violates federal law"



Wednesday, March 12, 2003

FAA rules Stage 2 jet ban at Naples airport violates federal law
The Associated Press


Naples Municipal Airport's ban on small, loud jets is discriminatory and
violates federal law, the Federal Aviation Administration has ruled.

FAA spokeswoman Marcia Adams said Naples airport is immediately restricted
from getting any federal grants unless the Naples Airport Authority repeals
the ban on Stage 2 jets.

Stage 2 jets were made primarily between 1975 and 1983 and are noisier than
jets made in subsequent years. All Stage 2 jets weighing more than 75,000
pounds have been banned by the federal government, but Naples is the first
airport in the country to ban Stage 2 jets that weigh less than 75,000
pounds.

In its ruling released Tuesday, the FAA said the ban is illegal because it
discriminates against a certain type of aircraft.

Airport Authority Executive Director Ted Soliday said they would appeal.

Soliday said the airport will be able to apply for grants again upon
informing the FAA that it will appeal the decision. He also said the airport
would continue to enforce the ban while the appeal is ongoing.

Naples airport officials say they can ban Stage 2 jets under a 1990 federal
aviation law that requires multiple noise studies and several public comment
periods before a specific type of aircraft can be banned.

Airport officials say they have met the requirements set forth in that law.

The airport's noise study found that Stage 2 jets accounted for less than 1
percent of the aircraft flying out of the airport, but were responsible for
more than 40 percent of the noise complaints from local residents.

In 2001, two Washington, D.C.-based trade groups sued the authority,
alleging the Stage 2 ban was unconstitutional. A federal district judge
ruled in favor of Naples airport before the case went to trial, saying the
ban was constitutional.

Airport Authority member Peter Manion said the previous case made him
confident the airport would prevail against the FAA on appeal.

"This issue has already been adjudicated in our favor," Manion said. "We
have precedent on our side."

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