Howard County Executive Calvin Ball released the following statement after the FAA filed a motion to hold Maryland’s case in abeyance while the agency reconsiders its letter challenging the state over the issue of new flight patterns.

“[The] news is a step in the right direction to help our residents who have suffered from unacceptable aircraft noise over their homes.

Previous changes to BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) flight patterns, made without proper notice or environmental consideration, led to terrible noise pollution in some neighborhoods. We received consistent feedback from our residents that the situation was insufferable. In response, we filed multiple legal petitions against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and worked with our State partners to help alleviate the noise issues.

In September 2018, the FAA wrote a letter to the state of Maryland declining to respond to their administrative petition requesting more review of the flight patterns. But after local and state officials continued to fight for our residents, the FAA today filed a motion signaling it will reconsider its position. I want to thank Attorney General Frosh and Governor Hogan for their support in addressing this problem and standing up for Maryland residents.

On the Howard County side, we have filed our Reply to FAA’s Answer to our Principal Brief in the NextGen Case and we expect oral argument, if held, to be in the fall or winter. In the other FAA 4th Circuit case, concerning the Midfield Cargo Improvements, we can expect briefing to close around the end of October and oral argument in that case, if held, would likely be in the late Winter or Spring. We are also monitoring a third matter, the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for 2016-2020 Proposed Improvements. We will publicize further developments as they occur, and we remain dedicated to fighting for our residents in all these cases.

Today’s news moves us closer to a permanent solution and we will continue working to make things right.”