Goals Include Mandatory Curfew, Others Restrictions – Study to Proceed Regardless of Terminal Project Fate
BURBANK, Calif., April 17, 2000 — The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority today voted to pursue a mandatory curfew and other noise restrictions by undertaking a Federal Aviation Regulation Part 161 Study. The study will go forward regardless of whether the Authority and the City of Burbank reach a development agreement for the airport’s replacement passenger terminal project.
“We’re moving ahead on the Part 161 Study because the Authority sees the pursuit of a curfew as part of its overall noise reduction program. We want to be a good neighbor and do everything we can to provide noise relief to the citizens of Burbank and Los Angeles. Now is the time to begin,” said Authority President Carl Meseck. “I am also hopeful we stand a better chance of succeeding now than if we had tried to begin this study earlier,” he added.
Today’s action left open the exact terms of the curfew that will be studied, pending further discussions with the City of Burbank, the FAA, private aircraft operators and the commercial airlines. The initial phase of the study will cost approximately $1 million, and the Authority estimates the total cost will be $3 million to $4 million by the time the FAA completes its review.
The Authority engaged aviation consultant Landrum and Brown in early 1999 to head up a team to perform a Part 161 Study, and Landrum and Brown submitted a proposed scope of work last June. Final consideration of the scope of work has been delayed since that time as the Authority and the City of Burbank have pursued finalization of a development agreement that would allow a new terminal to be built.
A preliminary “framework for settlement” arrived at last August called for the Authority to initiate a Part 161 Study once a final development agreement was reached. The Authority’s decision to proceed immediately confirms its position that the guarantee of a terminal is not seen as a necessary condition for performing the study.
“We are going to do those things that are under the Authority’s control to address noise, consistent with our resolution last year to eliminate all of the noise impact area under California law by 2015,” Meseck said. “From this point forward, we will apply for noise insulation grants as aggressively as possible, and we will take every measure allowed by federal law to ensure the public it has the best possible protection from the impacts of the airport.”
Landrum and Brown estimated that drafting a Part 161 Study and processing it with the FAA would take two years or longer. 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) 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.
Several airports have initiated Part 161 studies since the 1990 act, but none were aimed at restricting Stage 3 aircraft. All of those studies were called off short of completion or before the FAA’s review.
“There’s no question this will be a ground-breaking effort. The premise of the Noise and Capacity Act was that Stage 3 jets were not to be interfered with, but it is clear after 13 years of Stage 3 jets at Burbank that they may not be the final answer as far as our community neighbors are concerned. We still have to look at nighttime flights,” said Meseck.