Hughes Aerospace working with Naples Airport to improve SWFL air traffic

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez
Published: Updated:

If you drive near the Naples Airport, you’re bound to hear a plane or two.

“To see these beautiful jets going over, from all types, and it’s all charter; it’s all private. It’s mind-boggling to see it,” said Berry Brown from Naples.

But not everyone feels this way. That’s why the airport is working on improving flight patterns and cutting down on noise.

“We’re working to design some new flight procedures that’ll hopefully alleviate some of the noise concerns that people have expressed over time,” said Zachary Burch, Communications Manager for the Naples Airport Authority.

Hughes Aerospace is a Texas-based company creating a feasibility study to develop better options for plane departures, approaches, and shared airspace.

“We could wait for the FAA to come up with some of these and develop these and go through the formal design process, but we know that that’s not something that our community or the airport wants to wait for. It could be five-plus years for that to happen,” added Burch.

Burch said the company gave the airport authority board of commissioners a report last month showing progress in higher takeoffs, quieter approaches, and more efficiency.

“We’ll be going and taking the expense on ourselves to proactively design these procedures,” he added. “The most important thing about that is that it will save potentially more than half that time.”

Hughes Aerospace’s goal is to combine all of the airspace around the Southwest Florida area, including Marco Island and RSW, to try and fix the issues.

“We’re looking at some of the procedures that come in and out of Marco because they’re very close by. And same with RSW, because not only are they close by, but our air traffic control tower works closely with theirs as we hand off our traffic to them,” said Burch.

Berry Brown is a pilot himself, so he’s used to the noise.

“I know they’ve talked about some directions as far as routing and turning them away, and maybe over towards the golf, a lot of issues. But it’s a nice airport,” Brown said.

Burch said saving time in the long run is a benefit not only to the airport and their operators but also to the community as a whole.

The next airport authority board meeting will be on April 18.

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