Photo by Michael Shain
Delta will be switching to quiter, more efficient fleet flying in to LaGaurdia to cut back on noise.
By Mark Hallum

An initiative announced by Delta Airlines is taking aim at airplane noise over Queens, not by switching the trajectory for take-offs and landings but by swapping out raucous equipment with aircraft which are quieter.

Delta said it will discontinue use of the MD-88 aircraft, a major factor in noise pollution, on a scheduled basis out of LaGuardia Airport and use those routes to fly the “quieter, more fuel-efficient” Airbus A320 aircraft, Boeing 737s and a limited number of MD-90 airplanes in its place. Newer aircraft will be introduced with engineering features which deliberately lower noise output.

“Delta flights on quieter, more efficient and larger aircraft are good for the community and will also support NextGen initiatives around more fuel-efficient GPS routes in New York airspace, the most congested in the world,” Delta Vice President for New York Henry Kuykendall said March 2.

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), former co-chair and founder of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus, said the effort is a step in the right direction as talks between residents, elected officials and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey proceed.

“Delta’s move will have a positive impact on airplane noise over our borough, and it will make a difference to those who reside near the airport. I look forward to building on this switch to quieter aircraft and working with airline officials to further mitigate airplane noise,” Meng said.

Delta will remove roughly 30 MD-88 flights to and from LaGuardia, and later this year switch its service between Atlanta and New York entirely to the larger and more sound-wave friendly A320s and 737s. But the change also comes with added perks for the passengers with newer and more comfortable interiors.

“Delta’s decision to begin using quieter, more modern aircraft at LaGuardia Airport is a win-win for travelers and the airport’s surrounding communities,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights). “It is a move that is not just about improving the quality of the traveling experience but also about improving the quality of life for New Yorkers on the ground. While airplanes can never be truly silent, we can work to make them less disruptive to the families who live nearby and I applaud Delta for taking steps toward that goal.”

The airline is adding 50 airplanes to its fleet this year, in addition to the Airbus A321s, A330-300s and the Airbus A350, all larger and better suited for noise mitigation.

Susan Carroll, a Flushing resident, has been an outspoken advocate for reducing airplane noise and said the MD-88 has been a problem in the airspace above Queens, especially during what is known as the Whitestone Climb, which takes the aircraft developed in the mid-80s longer to perform.

“Today is a great day for all those who are negatively impacted by LaGuardia flight paths. MD88s, which date back several decades, are extremely loud, fuel inefficient, and are incapable of flying noise abatement paths properly. Quite frankly, their roar is soul-crushing,” Carroll said. “I thank Delta for removing all of them from their fleet at LGA, effective immediately, and doing right by the communities.”

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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