U.S. Congressman Ted Poe today commended the Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Traffic Controllers Association for two improvements to airline traffic at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

The FAA and the Air Traffic Controllers announced they are redefining the Class B Airspace around Houston and expanding the Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facility at Bush-IAH.

In redefining Class B airspace, the approach of airplanes (or intercept altitude) will be raised by 1000 feet. This approach change should allow for a reduction in noise from the current low-flying aircraft to the surrounding airport neighborhoods.

The FAA also announced that expansion of Bushs TRACON will be complete by 2009. The TRACON facility controls aircraft approaching and departing out to about 50 miles from the airport. TRACON "sees" aircraft using radar. TRACON operators control specifically defined and limited sections of airspace and ensure that all aircraft entering or departing the airspace are kept separated at safe distances. An expanded TRACON should help reduce noise by assisting controllers in better sequencing traffic arriving and departing Bush-IAH.

Many of my constituents have raised concerns about the increased airport noise since 2003 and we are all relieved to know that the FAA and the Air Traffic Controllers also see there is a problem. Many of the Air Traffic Controllers live in affected neighborhoods and know these changes will bring much needed improvements. As an Humble resident for more than 20 years, I have seen and heard first-hand the effect of living near Bush-Intercontinental Airport, Representative Poe said. I am grateful the airport is working with the local homeowners to make improvements regarding the noise in and around the airport.

This announcement comes only a few weeks after Bush-IAH announced that a new runway would be constructed south of the existing runway (Runway 9-27) and would put subdivisions currently being built in Atascocita and Humble directly in the airports flight path. A second runway is also proposed for the northern portion of Bush-IAH affecting neighborhoods in northern Humble and southern Kingwood.

George Bush-Intercontinental Airport is vital to our economy, serves Houstons most important economic engine, and is a key element of Southeast Texas transportation system. It is responsible for over 118,000 jobs, $19.4 billion in sales, and $5.6 billion in personal income. However, neighborhoods around Bush are experiencing unbearable noise from the low-flying aircraft. We must all work together as responsible neighbors to make improvements that benefit all involved, Poe said.

Congressman Poe, who is in his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, serves on the Aviation Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Poe has had numerous hearings and meetings with top FAA and Air Traffic Control officials on raising the approach altitude and the need for TRACON improvements. His district includes most of the neighborhoods surrounding Bush-Intercontinental Airport. He has lived in Humble, less than 10 miles from Bush-Intercontinental Airport, for more than 20 years.