“The American dream of human progress through freedom and equality of opportunity is still the most revolutionary idea in the world today. It’s also the most successful.”
- Ronald Reagan, Chamber of Commerce Address, 1982
The most recent meeting held between the airlines and City representatives is the fourth of its kind in which the air carriers and the team from the City met to discuss ongoing work to identify possible improvements to the existing noise abatement departure procedures that could result in less community noise impacts.
The Newport Beach project team has used modeled and actual measured data to evaluate the effect of reducing aircraft power at various altitudes for the two takeoff flight paths used at JWA. Five scenarios were modeled and 1,500 test flights made using four aircraft types. One air carrier voluntarily conducted all 1,500 test flights. While the original idea of getting aircraft higher faster would mean less noise, this has not been validated in all of these test flights. Aircraft type is proving to be a critical factor. Those airplanes with the newer engine technology are measurably quieter. The project team will continue to study various alternatives within the two takeoff paths over the next few months. The City is greatly appreciative of the air carrier’s willingness to participate in these studies. Delta Airlines recently replaced the aircraft it uses for its five daily nonstops from Orange County to Salt Lake City with A220-100’s, and our community is realizing the benefits of the higher climb rate at takeoff, and the quieter engine technology. Five to eight decibels quieter than acceptable noise limits! Mayor Dixon sent a letter to Delta thanking them for their leadership in fleet modernization, and for the benefits to our city.
Washington DC Visits
Another trip to Washington DC was recently made by our mayor and myself to spread our message on behalf of the citizens of Newport Beach. We were accompanied by our City Manager, Aaron Harp, and our Deputy City Manager, Tara Finnigan who each shared in the responsibility of preparing Diane and I for this trip. It was great to have them along backing us up as we spoke to staff, our elected representatives, and agency administrators. Our message with everyone we met with focused on four main points:
Our strong support in preserving the l985 Settlement Agreement.
Our need for relief from the concentrated noise created by the FAA’s implementation of NextGen; Expeditious implementation by the FAA noise-related provisions in the FAA.
Reauthorization Act of 2018, including studying the effects of noise and emissions.We stressed that the City would like to see JWA selected as one of the six airports where FAA grant funds would be awarded to reduce or mitigate aviation impacts of noise, air quality and water quality. John Wayne is really a perfect airport for such a study.
Seeking support for methods to expedite the transition from Stage 3 aircraft to quieter aircraft as quickly as possible (i.e. tax incentives for airlines to make the transition).
We first met with Representative Rouda who serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as well as the Quiet Skies Caucus. Next we met with Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, co-chair of the Quiet Skies Caucus, who appreciated learning about the noise concerns of Newport Beach. Our meeting with the FAA included staff from both the DC office and via phone, the regional office in El Segundo. We discussed the new regional ombudsman program, and the need for flight dispersion. We were advised to begin working on the formation of a Regional Roundtable that would be responsible for making specific requests of the FAA. The formation of this Roundtable has already become a number 1 priority of mine with work beginning on this next week. It would be the responsibility of this Roundtable to gather agreement and consensus on a regional basis on proposed changes that would be presented to the FAA. In other words, it does no good for the City, on an individual basis, to approach the FAA with requests for changes at JWA. But the FAA will listen to regional requests.
We met with staff in the offices of Senators Harris and Feinstein where we repeated our message of the four points above. They demonstrated an understanding of our issues, and offered to meet with us at our home base of Newport Beach. Meetings are set up for next month. We completed our day of meetings in the office of the majority staff director of the Senate Aviation and Space Subcommittee. This office was responsible for drafting and negotiating much of the 2018 FAA legislation.
It was clearly evident that the Quiet Skies Caucus is putting pressure on the FAA to implement the provisions within the FAA Reauthorization Act. We plan to follow up on the regional ombudsman appointment as well as the noise provisions of the 2018 FAA Act, form the Regional Roundtable, and continue to work with our elected representatives for fleet modernization incentives.
Aviation Committee Update
I am so very pleased with the transformation that has taken place with the City’s Aviation Committee. Interested, knowledgeable, and motivated members of this committee have organized themselves into four sub-committees that are hard at work - Technical Matters/Departures, Government Relations, Communication, and the General Aviation Improvement Program. Each committee is currently working on developing recommendations for full committee review.
The next meeting of the Aviation Committee is scheduled for Monday, January 27, 2020, 5:30 p.m. in the Community Room at City Hall. The month of December will be dark.
General Aviation Improvement Program
The City continues to meet with representatives from the companies that are working on submitting a proposal to be one of the full-service FBO’s at the airport. Proposals are due to the County of Orange on December 19. Shortly after that our General Aviation Improvement Program (GAIP) Sub Committee will be getting to work! This is about as exhaustive an up-to-date on aviation that I can provide right now. As we approach the holiday season, work will slow down, so I don’t anticipate providing you with any additional information until after the New Year. Speaking of that, may I extend wishes to all of you for a very enjoyable holiday season. I look forward to the new year, the challenges it will bring, and the privilege of continuing to represent you.