Monday, November 17, 2008

Burbank Opposes Van Nuys Noisier Aircraft Phaseout Project

BURBANK, Calif., November 3, 2008 — The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, owner and operator of Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, voted today to go on record opposing the “Van Nuys Airport Noisier Aircraft Phaseout Project,” the subject of a draft Environmental Impact Report currently out for public comment from Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).

The Authority will instead support any efforts by Van Nuys Airport for a nighttime curfew identical to the curfew being proposed for Bob Hope Airport. “It is clear that LAWA is trying to do an end run around the federal requirement for a thorough study and benefit-cost analysis of any new airport access restriction.

The Authority firmly believes that LAWA’s attempt to ban daytime operations of noisier Stage 2 jets at Van Nuys without completing such a study of the costs is improper, circumvents federal law, and merely transfers daytime noise from Los Angeles residents living near Van Nuys Airport to Los Angeles and Burbank residents that live near Bob Hope Airport,” said Airport Authority President Bill Wiggins.

“We believe that Bob Hope Airport is already meeting its obligations under the letter and spirit
of the law to accommodate noisier Stage 2 private jets still remaining in the national fleet, and Van Nuys Airport should continue to do so as well. However, what does make sense for both airports and their neighbors is a curfew at night, and we’ll back Van Nuys 100 percent if it follows the rules that apply to all airports and pursues that restriction. Pursuing a ban on all Stage 2 jets at this time makes it much more difficult to obtain FAA approval of a meaningful nighttime curfew,” Wiggins added.

The Authority adopted a resolution that authorizes airport staff to submit comments on the Van
Nuys draft EIR challenging the report’s assumptions regarding the number of Stage 2 aircraft that would be shifted to Burbank and other nearby airports. The Authority questions the draft EIR assumptions that 82 percent of these noisier jets that currently use Van Nuys Airport will disappear or install expensive “hush-kits” by the year 2016, and that 34 percent of the remaining Stage 2 jets will shift their operations to Camarillo.

“The Authority is convinced that this is a dramatic overestimation and that most jets diverted
from Van Nuys would end up at Burbank because Camarillo is not near the Burbank-centered
entertainment industry, which is a large part of the current business jet demand at both Van Nuys Airport and Bob Hope Airport,” Wiggins noted. Camarillo currently services only about 7 percent of the combined general aviation jet traffic for the three airports.

Bob Hope Airport has been conducting a Part 161 Study, as required by federal law, to gain FAA
approval of a nighttime curfew from 10 p.m. to 6:59 a.m. The effort has taken eight years and cost over $6 million. During the public outreach for this study, extensive comments were received from hundreds of Burbank and Los Angeles residents that overwhelmingly indicated that they gave the highest priority to implementation of “meaningful nighttime noise relief.” Accordingly, the Authority has sought FAA approval of a full curfew as its highest priority for noise abatement.

Earlier this year during the public comment period for the Authority’s study, LAWA contested
the proposed nighttime curfew at Bob Hope Airport on the grounds that no Stage 3 newer generation jet operations from Burbank should be shifted to Van Nuys Airport.
“Because all residents in the Valley deserve the benefits of nighttime noise relief, the Authority
went on record to support efforts by Van Nuys Airport to impose a nighttime curfew identical to the curfew proposed at Bob Hope Airport, provided that LAWA follows the strict procedures outlined in federal law to seek FAA approvals,” Wiggins said.