Friday, March 4, 2011

Possible curfew for Burbank and Van Nuys Airports

After decades of wrangling over nighttime jet noise, San Fernando Valley lawmakers introduced a bill Monday they hope will help silence the skies over Bob Hope (BUR/KBUR) and Van Nuys (VNY/KVNY) airports.

The Valley-wide Noise Act submitted to a House transportation committee would institute a nighttime curfew on all jet flights at the airports.

The proposed legislation follows the FAA's rejection in 2009 of a 10 p.m.-to-7 a.m. curfew after a nine-year, $7 million study by the agency that governs Bob Hope Airport.

"Valley residents living under the flight path and near Bob Hope and Van Nuys airports should be able to enjoy a restful night without the roar of jet engines," said a statement by Rep. Brad Sherman, who introduced the bill with Reps. Adam Schiff and Howard Berman.

"We are committed to achieving a solution that ultimately reduces or eliminates nighttime noise within the communities that have fought for relief for decades."

The proposed act was submitted to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. As such, it would amend a 1990 aviation law interpreted by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2009 as preventing airports from imposing the nighttime curfew.

The measure would be among the latest efforts to mitigate aviation noise at Bob Hope and Van Nuys airports, a source of complaints since the dawn of the jet age.

Bob Hope Airport has long banned louder so-called StageII jets, according to airport officials. And commercial airlines recently abided by a volunteer curfew for the newer, quieter aircraft. But that still left late, unscheduled commercial arrivals, said Bob Hope Airport spokesman Victor Gill, as well as nighttime jet flights by light cargo and mostly business traffic.

Gill said the nighttime jets were mostly during the week - and are limited to between 20 and 25 takeoffs and landings by light turboprop cargo carriers; roughly one or two landings by larger cargo flights such as UPS or FedEx; and less than 10 flights a day from mostly smaller business jets.

Most flights, he said, ran from north to south over North Hollywood, then headed west and toward their respective cities.

"The Airport Authority is very supportive of the congressional effort to try to get some nighttime noise relief through the legislative process," Gill said, "that we were unable to do on the federal study side."

(Dana Bartholomew - Contra Costa Times)

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