Southwest neighborhood leaders organizing group on airport issues

Following the surprising news that the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) might revamp its air traffic through Minneapolis, Southwest is organizing a Southwest Airport Advisory Team.

The team aims to prevent any new airport-related surprises by bringing together representatives from Southwest neighborhood groups. Their first meeting took place in late January.

“Whatever transpires with the airport, we want to be sure everyone feels they have a good line of communication, we’ve been heard, and have some level of input,” said Bryan Simmons, chair of the Kenny Neighborhood Association.

Residents organized swift opposition in November when they learned MAC was thinking about consolidating air traffic into narrow flight paths.

In response, MAC approved new flight paths over Eagan and other east metro suburbs, but not over Southwest Minneapolis, Edina and Richfield. MAC now awaits Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reaction to the decision, anticipated to arrive by late March. If the FAA does agree with partial implementation, the earliest it would begin is July 2014.

Meanwhile, MAC is wrapping up a 30-day comment period on Feb. 8 for its environmental assessment, which considers new parking ramps and expansion of the terminals.