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Court Nixes Neighbors’ Dispute Over Airspace

(CN) - The neighbors of a couple who operate a small grass airstrip can operate their own airstrip, so long as the feuding airports follow special traffic guidelines set by the Federal Aviation Administration, a federal appeals court in Louisiana ruled.

The 5th Circuit upheld dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Lonny and Roxann Menard, who accused the FAA of acting arbitrarily and capriciously in allowing both of the airports to operate. The two landing strips run parallel to one another.

After the neighbors' Aero Estates stopped airstrip operations in 1996, the FAA allowed the Menards to open their airport, Paradise Point. But in 2007, the FAA determined that both airports could operate, so long as they instructed traffic to approach and depart from opposite directions. The FAA said Paradise Point would not have enough traffic to cause problems with Aero Estates' traffic.

The Menards argued that the decision was biased and not according to the agency's own regulations.

But the appeals court found that Congress gave the FAA the task of safely apportioning airspace and the "authority to establish non-standard traffic patterns ... to mitigate potential airspace conflicts."

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