Back in March, President Trump nominated Steve Dickson, Delta’s former senior vice president for flight operations, to head the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
But U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called on Dickson to commit to reducing aircraft noise for Queens and Long Island residents before they consider his nomination.
Residents in certain areas of Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties deal with incessant helicopter and airplane noise, particularly during the summer months when air traffic increases. In a letter to Dickson, Schumer and Gillibrand highlighted Queens and Long Island residents’ concerns and urged the nominee to make the issue a priority.
“Before we will consider any new nominee to head the FAA, we need to hear from the nominee about what will be done to address the high levels of airplane and helicopter noise that challenge so many communities in Long Island, Queens, the Bronx and elsewhere,” said Senator Schumer. “That is why we are demanding that the nominee for FAA administrator commit to listening and responding with specific policy changes to the long-ignored frustrations of New Yorkers overburdened by aircraft noise.”
In October 2018, the FAA introduced the six-month North Shore Helicopter Route, which directed air traffic away from neighborhoods like Whitestone and Bayside. In April 2019, the FAA announced that the route would be extended until October 2019.
Residents of the East End of Long Island, however, said they have been waiting for months for the FAA to respond to public comment urging them to change the route to benefit them. FAA also announced that it would postpone two flight pattern changes that would reduce noise over Nassau County from flights going in and out of JFK Airport.
“Residents of Long Island and Queens have long suffered through unacceptable levels of helicopter and airplane noise, and this problem gets markedly worse during the summer. Even though last year’s FAA Reauthorization bill included my provisions to address this noise pollution, the FAA has yet to follow through and take any substantive actions to actually reduce aircraft noise,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Before the Senate votes on the next FAA Administrator, I am calling on the nominee to show leadership on this issue and fully commit to addressing the concerns of New Yorkers. Excessive airplane and helicopter noise harm the quality of life in our communities, and it’s past time the FAA gives our communities the relief they deserve.”
Schumer and Gillibrand’s letter to Dickson called on the nominee to commit to the following:
- Finalizing the review of public comments on the North Shore route that is mandated by the FAA Reauthorization bill
- Enforcing an all-water route around Orient Point and Shelter Island
- Creating a route over the Atlantic Ocean on the South Shore for aircraft flying to and from the East End
- Improving communication between the FAA and noise-affected communities
- Seeking community input on noise impacts and abatement needs and incorporating concerns into FAA planning
- Prioritizing FAA resources towards noise mitigation projects