Minneapolis, Edina representatives, residents raise questions over flight patterns


Lawmakers and residents who live in the path of proposed flight patterns from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport questioned the director of the Metropolitan Airports Commission Tuesday during an informational meeting of the House Transportation Policy Committee.

Invited by Committee Chairman Ron Erhardt (DFL-Edina), nearly a dozen Edina officials and residents attended an overview from MAC Executive Director and CEO Jeff Hamiel to voice their concern over a new navigation plan at the state’s largest airport. It would, in part, concentrate take-offs from one runway over narrower areas of Edina and southwest Minneapolis.

The new navigation system will mean fewer air emissions, less fuel waste and less noise, Hamiel said.

But, he added, “airplanes still have to fly over homes.” Homeowners underneath the new, narrower and more highly trafficked routes will notice, he told the committee.

Rep. Paul Rosenthal (DFL-Edina) said his district “was shocked” when it saw the plan and asked why the city hadn’t been involved earlier in the planning process.

Edina resident James Grotz posed a series of questions he said hadn’t yet been answered that included what the width of new flight paths would be and at what altitude planes would fly over Edina homes.

Since a November meeting, MAC and FAA officials have reached out to residents in Edina, Minneapolis and Richfield, and commission members have supported a plan that would delay implementing the new navigation system on the runway directly impacting those areas.

MAC commissioners are set to approve a plan in coming weeks.

The new FAA flight patterns are coming, however, “one way or another,” Hamiel said.