07.23.09

Schiff, Berman Call for FAA to Approve Mandatory Nighttime Curfews at Bob Hope and Other Local Airports in Southern California

Official Seal of the US House of Representatives

Thursday, July 23, 2009 Contact: Sean Oblack (202) 225-4176

Schiff, Berman Call for FAA to Approve Mandatory Nighttime Curfews at Bob Hope and Other Local Airports in Southern California

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Congressmen Howard Berman (D-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) called for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to approve mandatory nighttime curfews at Bob Hope and other local Southern California airports.  Yesterday, the two Valley Congressmen wrote a letter to the FAA in support of implementing nighttime curfews to provide noise relief to the communities surrounding local airports.  The Bob Hope Airport is the first in the country to demonstrate adequately that it meets all the requirements for a curfew to be approved.

Today on the House Floor, Reps. Schiff and  Berman expressed their concerns with the fairness of the FAA’s curfew application process with the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Rep. John Olver.    Olver’s subcommittee funds the FAA.

“I strongly believe that Bob Hope Airport in Burbank California has met the criteria for a curfew set by law,”  Rep. Schiff stated today on the House Floor.  “A curfew would impact a relatively small number of diverted flights while delivering significant reductions in both the noise impact to surrounding communities and costs associated with sound mitigation.”

Rep. Berman noted that “Both Bob Hope Airport and Van Nuys Airport have been actively studying nighttime flight curfews on Stage III aircraft.  In fact, the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority has already submitted its completed Part 161 application to the FAA requesting a nighttime curfew…but the FAA has been all too willing to simply disregard the impact that nighttime flight operations have on nearby communities.  I look forward to working to ensure that the FAA gives fair consideration to the concerns of those who must live with airport noise day and night.”

Below is the full text of the letter sent to the FAA.

Victoria Catlett
FAA APP 400
FAA, 800 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20591
Attn: Docket No. FAA-2009-0546

Dear Ms. Catlett:

We are writing this letter to convey our support for the proposed mandatory nighttime curfew at the Bob Hope Airport located in Southern California.  The proposed curfew, which will be the subject of FAA review under the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 (ANCA), as implemented by FAR Part 161, would provide meaningful nighttime noise relief to the communities surrounding the Bob Hope Airport in a cost-efficient manner while continuing to enable the Airport to serve the millions of annual passengers who use the facility each year. 

The unique standing of the Bob Hope Airport proposed curfew is significant: no other airport has ever succeeded in getting this far through the process and having the FAA deem their application complete.  We believe that the proposed mandatory curfew meets the requirements set forth by the requirements of FAR Part 161. The Airport has demonstrated that the suggested curfew will ultimately cost less than increased acoustical treatment of homes that will be affected by airport noise in the future and it has also met the other five statutory tests. Congress intended for ANCA to permit airports, such as Bob Hope, to pursue and obtain FAA approval for access restrictions when the airport successfully demonstrates compliance with FAR Part 161. 

In particular, we note that the proposed curfew would impact a relatively small number of diverted flights (mostly cargo and general aviation) while delivering significant reductions in both the projected noise impact contour at the Airport and costs associated with sound mitigation. 

Similar, albeit not identical, nighttime restrictions already exist at a number of Southern California airports, including John Wayne, Long Beach, Santa Monica and Van Nuys and that the national aviation system can clearly handle the relatively small number of impacted operations of an additional nighttime restriction in Southern California.

We also support the ongoing efforts by Los Angeles World Airports to enact various noise restrictions, including a mandatory curfew for the limited number of general aviation flights at nearby Van Nuys Airport that cause significant disturbances at night.  Ideally, both curfews should be implemented in order to achieve a measurable goal of eliminating noise for those who live between Bob Hope Airport and Van Nuys Airport in the San Fernando Valley – a region of over 1.8 million residents.  A majority of flights impacted by the curfew could be redirected to other airports with significant nighttime operations and comparable facilities

We would also like to propose that the FAA consider issuing a tentative decision in advance of November 1, 2009, with a public comment period, rather than summarily issuing a final decision on or before November 1.  This will enable all parties to reach consensus on Part 161 and show that the application was considered objectively, thoroughly and was fair.  It will show that Part 161 has meaning and credibility; it makes be clear to all that the process is real and can lead to results.

In closing, we join with the Cities of Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena, and their residents, and those living throughout the San Fernando Valley in urging the Federal Aviation Administration to fulfill its obligations under ANCA and seriously consider, pursuant to FAR Part 161, the full mandatory curfew proposed for the Bob Hope Airport.
 

Sincerely,
  


ADAM B. SHIFF
Member of Congress                                                                                    

HOWARD L BERMAN     
Member of Congress