Pols say flight arrival plan for Newark Airport could bring more plane noise

By Madina Toure

The Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus is worried that a new flight arrival plan for Newark Liberty International Airport will create additional airplane noise over Queens.

The Federal Aviation Administration is seeking to implement the new plan for Newark Airport in the fall. The plan would allow air traffic controllers to shift a small number of arriving flights to Newark’s Runway 29 if the airport’s Runway 4 Left or 4 Right are at capacity. The agency is currently reviewing the environmental impact study it conducted for the plan.

“In 2012, new flight patterns over Queens slapped increased airplane noise over our borough, a move that continues to ruin quality of life for Queens residents,” U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) said. “We will not accept any new noise and we’ll do everything in our power—legislative and otherwise—to fight this plan should it negatively impact our borough. The FAA must immediately clarify whether this new plan for Newark Airport will cause any new aircraft noise over Queens.”

The FAA said it expects to use the procedure on a limited basis beginning some time in the fall and that about six additional aircraft will use the procedure per hour during peak operating periods.

The procedure routes aircraft over Upper and Lower New York Bays for most of the planned route. Once aircraft begin to turn toward Runway 29 for landing, they will use the same arrival path as previous or existing procedure routes.

Aircraft will approach Newark Airport from the south and east over communities to the southeast of the airport.

When aircraft are on this track, they will be at an altitude of 3,000 feet over Monmouth County, Marlboro Township and Union Beach and at or below an altitude of 1,400 feet when over Bayonne.

“The FAA conducted an environmental review of the procedure in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, and determined that it will not significantly increase noise,” the agency said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) echoed similar sentiments.

“The communities surrounding our airports have been burdened by aircraft noise pollution long enough and we will fight tooth and nail to oppose any proposal that could potentially add to the disruption and deterioration of our quality of life,” Crowley said.

In a letter dated June 9 to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, Meng, Crowley, U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica), U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) and U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Melville) asked the FAA to determine the possibility that aircraft traveling to New York City airports may be forced to use flight paths that require an increased amount of time spent in airspace over the borough if the procedure is implemented.

“We cannot support any decision that would result in additional air traffic, however slight, over our congressional districts,” they wrote. “The people of Queens for too long have dealt with excessive aircraft noise. We have worked too hard to address these issues to allow further changes to the airspace that would have a detrimental effect on our constituents.”

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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