Public Input and Frequent Public Information Updates Are Top Priorities as Authority Attempts to Win Nighttime Restrictions on Flights
Website to Offer Increased Background Information and Additional Means for Public Comment
BURBANK, Calif., July 24, 2000 — The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority Part 161 Study – the federal process the airport must follow to apply for a nighttime curfew – went into high gear today as consultants presented the Authority with a detailed plan for the study’s conduct over the next 18 months that features frequent opportunities for public input throughout the process.
“It is clear to the Authority that nighttime aircraft noise is an overriding issue to residents who live under arrival and departure flight paths, and this study process is the one way open to us under federal law to secure hard and fast restrictions such as a curfew,” said Airport Authority President Carl Meseck.
“We encourage the public as well as the users of the airport to follow the study closely and get involved. We feel that the thoroughness of the participation by all interests can and will have an impact on the FAA’s willingness to consider our case,” he added.
A key period in the study action plan will take place over the next two months as the Authority staff begins an extensive public outreach program to collect opinions and ideas about what should be done to combat noise. Comments received will be considered as the Authority finalizes the precise aircraft noise restrictions it will propose to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The outreach program will include a series of four public listening sessions in August at locations throughout the San Fernando Valley designed to provide a forum for the public to present observations and suggestions for inclusion in the current Part 161 Study as well as future studies. The meetings will be publicized by advertisement and extensive mailings to residents groups, business groups, public officials, local governments, aviation users and other stakeholders.
In order to assure a study process that is as fast as possible, the current effort will have the focused goal of eliminating or significantly reducing nighttime flight noise now and in the future. The FAA has committed to expedite the consideration of the Authority’s proposed rules to achieve that end. Issues beyond the scope of nighttime noise may be deferred for subsequent Part 161 studies.
There will also be in-depth consultations with the various public and aviation user groups to aid in the analysis of any proposed restrictions that is required by federal regulations.
A major addition to the noise study process will be a new website, www.burbankpart161.org, which will provide ongoing information about the study as it is compiled. Due to be online within two weeks, the website will offer a meeting calendar as well as complete background information about Part 161 of the Federal Aviation Regulations and the required elements of the study. Visitors will be able to access all documents submitted to the public docket over the life of the study and submit comments of any length at any time.
It is a requirement of the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 that any airport desiring to adopt new noise rules that would restrict operations of Stage 3 aircraft (the newest generation of airline jets) must first perform a study weighing any noise benefits against any negative impacts on air commerce posed by the restrictions. Once the study is complete, the FAA is the final arbiter of whether the new rules will be allowed or not.
The Burbank Airport Part 161 Study will be the first in the nation to pursue a mandatory curfew on Stage 3 jets. Burbank was the first airport in the nation to acquire an all-Stage 3 airline fleet in 1987, three years before Congress adopted the Airport Noise and Capacity Act and 13 years before all airports in the country reached all-Stage 3 status.
The Authority hopes to submit its Part 161 Study to the FAA by September 2001 and expects an FAA decision by early 2002. The complete study is expected to cost $3 million to $4 million.