Appeals Court Upholds Naples, Fla. Stage 2 Ban
Both sides claim a measure of victory in last Friday's U.S. Court of Appeals ruling, but the Naples (Fla.) Airport Authority is crowing louder. The court decision upheld a ban on Stage 2 jets at Naples Municipal Airport–a ban disputed by the FAA and a host of aviation advocacy groups, including the NBAA. The FAA has contended for several years that an FAR Part 161 noise study conducted by the city was flawed, and that the airport's ban was inconsistent with the terms of the airport noise and capacity act of 1990. In a two-part decision, the court agreed that the FAA retains the overall authority to withdraw airport improvement funding if it believes there is unreasonable discrimination. But the court determined in this specific case that the Naples Airport Authority was justified in its Stage 2 ban, despite the fact that the FAA had not approved the Part 161 study. As a result of the court ruling, all federal funds withheld from Naples are eligible to be restored. According to an observer close to the issue, the ruling could open the door for some other airports that have submitted a Part 161 study to immediately institute a Stage 2 ban.