Thursday, March 3, 2016

Keep noise down, efficiency up at Queens airports

By Sharon Pinkerton

The article, “FAA reform bill raises concern from Queens leaders” (Feb. 19) suggests that aircraft noise is the biggest issue affecting New Yorkers. While it is undoubtedly a concern for some, U.S. airlines have made great strides in reducing aircraft noise in recent years. In fact, FAA data demonstrates that the population exposed to significant levels of aircraft noise has dropped 95 percent since the late 1970s, even as enplanements have tripled. We expect this trend to continue as U.S. airlines purchase new, quieter aircraft that are certified to meet the latest international noise standards.

However, our nation’s antiquated air traffic control system and New York’s dubious distinction as America’s leader in aircraft delays should be of concern to us all. Incredibly, New York’s three airports—Kennedy, La Guardia and Newark Liberty—account for nearly half of our nation’s delays. While some delays are caused by Mother Nature, our reliance on WWII-era radar technology keeps planes from flying as directly and efficiently as they otherwise could and is responsible for the three major New York area airports perennial ranking among the top five most delayed airports in the nation.

This reliance on radar instead of satellite-based navigation is costing passengers time and money. Air traffic control delays have become about 15 percent longer at 13 out of 20 of America’s largest hubs despite declining traffic, with JFK having the longest increase at 49 percent. Twenty years ago, a flight from LaGuardia to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport took less than an hour. Today the same flight takes 90 minutes, as airlines have to account for ATC delays.

The good news is that NextGen modernizat­ion—which utilizes technology we’re already using on our smartphones and GPS—means more efficient ATC and fewer delays. The FAA reauthorization bill now under consideration would advance NextGen while ensuring that environmental and community protections are maintained and enhanced.

NextGen reduces noise overall and America’s airlines are committed to working with the FAA and all communities near them to hear their concerns and find solutions that work for us all.

Sharon Pinkerton

Senior Vice President, Legislative and Regulatory Policy

Airlines for America

Original article can be found here:

FAA reform bill raises concern from Queens leaders

Northern Queens communities are paying close attention to the proposed FAA reauthorization bill, called the Aviation Innovation Reform and Reauthorization Act.

On Feb. 3, the House Transportation Subcommittee unveiled a proposed law to increase regulations on noise quality in communities near airports.

Yet borough lawmakers and activists remain skeptical.

“There is no question we need a long-term FAA reauthorization that ensures the safety of the flying public, makes investments in research and development, and helps create good paying jobs,” U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) said. Crowley helped form the House Quiet Skies Caucus in 2014 with several other members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing).

“Unfortunat­ely, as the bill currently stands, I have many concerns, including that it contains an attempt to privatize air traffic control. However, if there is a silver lining, it is that we may finally see a concerted effort to address the very serious issue of aircraft noise pollution.”

The bill would require the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct a study on the effect of aircraft noise exposure on communities around airports and to consider noise when approving new departure flight paths. It would also require that the FAA review community involvement practices when implementing an entirely new airspace design, and make recommendations on how to engage the community in these specific instances.

“The provision of the AIRR Act that has gotten the most press is the proposal to take air traffic control away from the FAA and privatize it, controlled by a corporation whose board of directors would be composed of the airlines and the unions,” said Janet McEneaney, president of the Quiet Skies advocacy group. “If such a corporation came into existence, our communities would have to be significantly represented on the board.”

The state Comptroller’s Office has also announced that it will be conducting a survey on noise in New York City neighborhoods and would like city residents to take the survey.

The city, which is in the process of distributing the survey, is hoping to learn about residents’ experience with noise in neighborhoods and solicit ideas for noise mitigation. The survey, which follows a nationwide FAA impact study, must be completed by those who are interested by March 15.

Original article can be found here:

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