Suozzi calls on the FAA to make good on implementing solutions to alleviate aircraft noise around JFK

Photo: Nuno Lopez via Flickr Creative Commons

A Queens congressman wants the Federal Aviation Administration to implement previously agreed upon solutions to alleviate aircraft noise coming into and out of a local airport.

Since April, Queens and Long Island residents have experienced increased airplane noise due to the redirection of flight paths and the reconstruction of one of JFK Airport’s four runways. According to Congressman Tom Suozzi, the work is scheduled to last until Nov. 15, 2019.

“It has been more than 90 days since the FAA postponed implementation of already agreed-upon procedures and, despite multiple attempts, I have not gotten a straight answer on when they will be administered,” Suozzi said. “It is finally time for the broken bureaucracy of the FAA take concrete action that will actually improve the lives of my constituents who are being bombarded and crushed by airplane noise.”

On May 30, Suozzi and representatives from Nassau and Western Suffolk Counties met with the FAA to discuss the increase in aircraft noise. Two weeks later on June 13, the FAA signed an agreement to reduce noise, which they planned to implement from June 24 through April 15, 2020.

The terms of the agreement are as follows:

  • When aircraft are operating west of Deer Park, Suffolk County, air traffic controllers will instruct pilots to maintain an altitude at or above 4,000 feet as long as it is practicable.
  • When the parallel runway is not being used for landing (22R), aircraft will be advised to maintain an altitude of 3,000 feet on their final approach until they are within 15 miles of JFK.
  • The air traffic control tower at John F. Kennedy International Airport will rotate usage of operational runways when the weather and workload permit;
  • Items one through three were scheduled to officially go into effect on June 24, 2019, and were to be part of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) during all hours.

According to Suozzi’s office, the FAA reversed its decision on June 18, stating that the new regulations “require additional internal evaluation” and that “the FAA will coordinate with stakeholders before it makes any decision to implement them.”

Suozzi, who is a vice co-chair of the bipartisan Quiet Skies Caucus, sent out a detailed letter to the FAA asking for clarification on when they would implement these regulations. But the congressman’s office said the organization has been noncommittal.

The congressman has also asked Federal Aviation Administrator Steve Dickson to provide an update on outstanding project related to aircraft noise, including a “now long-overdue and continuously delayed” FAA study reevaluating the threshold for noise mitigation activities.

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