State Looking to Hire Outside Law Firm To Pursue Case Against FAA Over Airplane Noise

Last month, governor asked attorney general to file suit


Airplane flying overhead


Maryland’s Office of the Attorney General is searching for an outside law firm to sue the Federal Aviation Administration over increasing airplane noise in Montgomery County and other parts of the state.

The office is seeking a firm with expertise in aviation technology and flight patterns, Raquel Coombs, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, said Thursday.

A month ago, Gov. Larry Hogan asked the state’s Attorney General Brian Frosh to sue the FAA after the agency instituted new flight patterns in 2014 that have consolidated planes over the state. In Montgomery County, residents in Bethesda and Potomac have complained for nearly two years about noise from departing and arriving flights at Reagan National Airport. Residents of affected neighborhoods have said the previous flight patterns dispersed planes across the area, lessening the noise from the planes.

The governor wrote in a letter to Frosh that the agency failed to properly notify the state and general public about the flight pattern changes.

Neighborhoods near Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport also have been affected by increasing airplane noise, according to state officials.

Coombs said no timeline has been set to file the lawsuit.

“It has the potential to be an extremely complicated case,” she said.

Montgomery County also is exploring whether to file a lawsuit against the FAA over the ongoing issue.

The federal agency instituted the flight pattern changes to try to streamline air traffic and save fuel costs. The changes were promoted heavily by commercial air carriers, according to the governor.

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