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PHOENIX-America West Airlines and Southwest Airlines submitted letters to the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday with concerns about the potential safety risks posed by the stadium to aircraft using the North runway at Sky Harbor International Airport. The airlines also said that the 73,000-seat stadium, for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, could reduce the overall efficiency and reduce the capacity.

The FAA is studying the safety issues associated with building the stadium in Tempe, at the southeast corner of the Red Mountain Freeway and Priest Drive. The public comment portion of the FAA’s review ended Monday, and a final report is expected in a few weeks.

Earlier this year, the FAA said that the site was a potential flight hazard and that it shouldn’t be built.

The Tourism and Sports Authority (TSA), which determined the site and will own the facility, ordered steel for the stadium but has done little work. In light of the FAA’s concerns, the TSA moved the site of the stadium off the landing path of the north runway, buying a parcel of land from an apartment developer who was just getting underway.

The airlines opposition to the stadium joined two others – the Air Transport Association and the Air Line Pilots Association, who came out earlier against the doomed stadium.

In their letters to the FAA, Southwest Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association said that the FAA might impose tighter flight restrictions at Sky Harbor as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and that the stadium might become a target of future attacks.

The TSA has argued that the new stadium would be further away from the airport than Bank One Ballpark, home of the National League champion Arizona Diamondbacks, and further away from the flight path than Sun Devil Stadium, where the Arizona Cardinals currently play, on the campus of Arizona State University.

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