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Noisy Jet Phase Out Nears at Van Nuys

A phase out of noisy older jets at Van Nuys Airport would begin in July under an ordinance that goes before the Board of Airport Commissioners next month. Reducing the number of noisy aircraft has long been a contentious issue before the board of Los Angeles World Airports and has pit nearby residents against businesses based at the Valley airfield. If approved by the board at the May 4 meeting, the ordinance would then go to the Transportation, Commerce and Tourism Committee of the Los Angeles City Council. Provided that no other council committee would want to review the ordinance, the council would vote in June, said Robert Holden, an environmental supervisor with Los Angeles World Airports. Implementation of the phase–out would begin 30 days after approval and be done over seven years, Holden said at an April 7 meeting of the Van Nuys Airport Citizens Advisory Committee meeting. The ordinance sets noise limits at the airport for departing aircraft beginning with jets with a noise level of 85 decibels. By or after Jan. 1, 2016 no aircraft can operate at Van Nuys at more than 77 decibels. In the final environmental review of the ordinance, the airport agency expects that passage would result in some older aircraft being retired, others modified to reduce noise, and others being relocated to other general aviation airports, including Camarillo Airport and William J. Fox Airfield near Lancaster. Aircraft used for military activities or medical, police and fire emergencies would be exempt from the restrictions. The ordinance reaffirms a position originally taken in 1990 to do away with Stage 2 aircraft. The board revisited the issue in 2006 and added amendments to the ordinance in 2007. One amendment that exempts Stage 3 aircraft from the ordinance met with approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. A March letter from the FAA to LAWA Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey stated that the administration would consider the phase out to be grandfathered under the federal Airport Noise and Capacity Act and not subject to a lengthy cost-benefit study. “This is the best we can get out of the FAA,” Holden said. LAWA, however, is moving on a different track to reduce the number of Stage 3 aircraft at Van Nuys, as well as other proposals including placing a cap or phasing out helicopter operations. The agency expects to submit five applications to the FAA by the end of the year or early 2010 that will address various noise issues at the airport.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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