Maria Cantwell, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Patty Murray, Applaud Final FAA Rule that will Protect Pearson Airport

Legislators successfully press FAA to accommodate concerns from Southwest Washington community about limiting flights at Pearson

VANCOUVER – Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-SW WA) today applauded the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) new rules that will allow Pearson Airport, one of the oldest operating airfields in the U.S., to continue to operate in a manner that is economically feasible while fostering airspace safety.

The FAA issued its final rules on September 12, 2016 that will once and for all scrap the restrictive “Pearson Box” proposal that would have limited flights in and out of Pearson Airport, while still enhancing the region’s air safety.  The Pearson Box arrangement had been put on hold in 2013 after Herrera Beutler, Murray and Cantwell had successfully facilitated dialogue between the FAA and the local stakeholders who were concerned over its potential impact.

"Pearson Field brings almost 40,000 visitors to the region every year and supports the jobs of around 460 Vancouver residents," said Senator Cantwell.  “This decision is good news for the region, and will help ensure more efficient and predictable flight operations for visitors and the Field's businesses."

“I applaud FAA for finding a solution that allows Pearson Field Airport to remain a great asset for Southwest Washington,” said Congresswoman Herrera Beutler.  “I want to thank all of the Pearson advocates – local pilots, the City of Vancouver, Pearson Field, air traffic controllers, Senators Cantwell and Murray – who continued to work as a team to allows Pearson Airport to remain an important hub for the region’s aviation community.”

“Vancouver and its surrounding communities depend on safe, reliable airports - both big and small - to connect our cities,” said Senator Murray. “Pearson Airport is a historic fixture of this region that supports jobs and the local economy, and I was proud to work with my colleagues to support continued operations at Pearson.”

In 2012, the FAA’s proposed rule creating the “Pearson Box” would have placed severe restrictions on aircraft operating out of Pearson Field in an attempt to reduce the chance of converging flight paths and mid-air collisions between Pearson and Portland International Airport air traffic.  Strong concerns were raised by the general aviation community as to whether the Pearson Airfield would be able to continue to operate if the proposed rule was finalized.  Herrera Beutler, Murray, and Cantwell met with the FAA and asked them to address this issue in a manner that would create a safe airspace for both airports, while ensuring that Pearson would be able to continue to operate. 

In summary, the FAA’s newly published rules:

1.   Establish a Special Flight Rules Area in the vicinity of the Pearson Field Airport that will prevent conflicts between Portland International Airport and Pearson air traffic.

2.   Re-designates the airspace around Pearson to a Class E airspace.