Planes at PTC airport to ‘keep it lower’

FAA expands airspace to make room for bigger jets to/from Hartsfield

Starting Thursday, commuter jets flying in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport will be a little closer to their much smaller brethren flying to and from Atlanta Regional Airport (also known as Falcon Field) in Peachtree City.

The new Class B airspace went into effect Thursday, allowing the bigger jets from Hartsfield to have a lower ceiling of 6,000 feet, down from the previous minimum of 8,000 feet.

By comparison, the smaller aircraft approaching and leaving Falcon Field stay in a pattern around 1,000 feet, said Airport Manager Hope Macaluso.

“It will take a little more coordination between pilots and terminal approach control as they arrive so they can remain below Hartsfield airspace,” Macaluso said.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the airspace change was necessary to have room for all the large turbine engine-powered airplanes as traffic is increasing at Hartsfield.

The change will also lower workload for air traffic controllers, who previously had to inform IFR aircraft when they are leaving and re-entering Class B airspace, freeing their time for more important control instructions, according to FAA officials.

Although the planes will be flying lower leaving Hartsfield, the FAA contends that there will not be an increase in noise because the departure and arrival patterns at Hartsfield are not changing.

Generally, Class B airspace is restricted to larger jet traffic to help keep it separated from smaller planes that are not in communication with air traffic controllers.