“Peace and individual betterment are universal purposes. They are at the heart of the American dream”. ~Ronald Reagan
As a result of the recent increased level of concern about operations at John Wayne Airport, this publication will review some basic background information about noise, noise monitors,
the Settlement Agreement, and the ability or inability of the City to regulate operations at JWA.
The John Wayne Settlement Agreement places restrictions on noise by the readings on 7 noise monitors, the number of Class A commercial flights, and the annual number of passengers.
The all important curfew which limits when commercial planes can operate is also a part of the Agreement. Beyond that, the City of Newport Beach has no ability to regulate operations at
JWA. The JWA Settlement Agreement has recently been extended through 2030, and the curfew through 2035. This Agreement is the single most important vehicle for controlling adverse airport impacts.
The Settlement Agreement arose out of environmental litigation in l985. As a result of the limitations the Agreement puts on JWA, and the possibility that such an agreement might become commonplace throughout the nation, Congress passed the Airport Noise Capacity Act (ANCA), which while it grandfathered in the JWA Settlement Agreement, it severely limited the ability for other airports in the nation to restrict operations at other airports. The JWA
Settlement Agreement is the most restrictive and admired agreement by communities throughout the country.
There are seven (7) noise monitors with an allowable decibel level for each monitor as planes depart from the airport. These noise levels were established in the Settlement Agreement and cannot be changed. Moreover, ANCA does not allow agreements to put further
limits and restrictions on airport operations. The limits on the noise monitors were established when planes were much louder; newer aircraft noise has reduced significantly. The current
limits can not be reduced so as to limit or restrict operations of the aircraft.
Since the implementation of NextGen takeoff procedures out of JWA,
one of the most frequently asked questions is, “Why don’t the carriers cut back upon departure like they used to?”
Because of technological improvements, some air carriers do not have to perform as aggressive a cutback as in the past. They only need to be able to depart the airport and not exceed the limits at the noise monitors.
Another question being asked is, “Who tells planes where they can fly?” The FAA determines where planes fly, not JWA. The FAA establishes departure procedures for every airport in the
country, and there are many different factors which dictate how and where planes depart and how much noise they may create. The climb rate and flight profile of departing aircraft will vary considerably based on aircraft type, engines, passenger load, weather conditions, humidity, wind, etc.
The “close in” (lower) or “distant” (higher) departure procedure is completely up to the airline. Again, they only have to meet the noise monitor standards at each noise monitor.
Recent direction of the City Council will establish temporary portable noise monitors in different neighborhoods throughout the City for the purpose of measuring departing flight noise. The City will also be reviewing the annual calibration report which was conducted on Oct., 11, 2017. A public relations firm has been hired to work with community groups in putting pressure on air carriers to Fly High and Fly Quiet. The City Council has also authorized the hiring of a lobbyist to work with air carriers as well as our Federal representatives, and the FAA.
Local groups such as the Airport Working Group, and specific community and neighborhood groups are working on specific strategies to encourage air carriers to Fly High and Fly Quiet.
The City’s Aviation Committee has formed a working group to implement a Fly High and Fly Quiet Program that will be aimed at awarding airlines that utilize a departure procedure that will
result in the least amount of noise possible.
On November 2nd, the FAA announced it is seeking public comment on its intent to establish the “FAA Noise Portal”, which is an online aircraft noise complaint and inquiry
system that will allow the agency to more effectively address noise complaints and inquiries.
The public has until January 2, 2018 to submit comments on the proposed portal. Please contact Ms. Barbara Hall by e-mail at Barbara.L.Hall @faa.gov, or by phone at 940/594-5913, for additional information.
And finally, the FAA has announced that the STAYY takeoff procedure which was to be implemented on December 7th has now been pushed back to February 1, 2018. This is
the “two turn” departure pattern down the center of the Upper Newport Bay.
The above information pretty much summarizes the multiple community meetings and forums that have been held and conducted over the past few months by myself, and City Manager
Dave Kiff. I will continue to serve as Chair of the Aviation Committee, and coordinate with our City Manager the dates of future airport forums to be held in 2018.
By the time you read this a new mayor will have been elected in addition to a new mayor pro tem, and I will have completed my first year on the Council. I continue to learn and grow in my responsibilities, and want you to know that I am thoroughly enjoying serving as your council representative!
As always, I remain at your service and encourage you to contact me with questions, concerns, information needed, etc. I have to tell you that the thing I enjoy most about serving on City Council is my ability to help people out, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of that!