Group Seeks Ban on Noisy Bizjets

 - May 1, 2007, 5:43 AM

A group of airports, local governments and residents asked Congress to order the complete phase-out of all Stage 1 and Stage 2 aircraft in the new FAA reauthorization bill currently being debated.

Morristown, N.J.-based “Sound Initiative: A Coalition for Quieter Skies” wants lawmakers to ban from any airport in the contiguous 48 states civil subsonic jets that weigh 75,000 pounds or less unless they comply with Stage 3 or Stage 4 noise levels. The prohibition would take effect three years after passage of the bill, which Congress wants to do before September 30.

Robert Bogan, deputy director of Morristown Municipal Airport, told the House aviation subcommittee that only one operator based at Morristown airport has not voluntarily met Stage 3, but non-compliant transient aircraft continue to generate noise complaints from airport neighbors.

As of last year, he said, the FAA Registry listed about 1,330 Stage 1 and Stage 2 aircraft operating in the U.S. They constitute about 13.5 percent of the fleet of jet aircraft that weigh less than 75,000 pounds.

In reference to the voluntary ban implemented at Teterboro Airport, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) commented, “Voluntarily banning these aircraft from one airport will only force them to use another local airport, so I believe that a nationwide ban is necessary.”

Bogan told lawmakers that the goal of the coalition is to complete the job the subcommittee started in 1990 by phasing out all Stage 1 and Stage 2 aircraft. By 1985 most Stage 1 aircraft had been phased out as a result of the FAA’s earlier regulatory action.

“In 1990, at the initiative of [Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.)] and this subcommittee, legislation was enacted to begin the phase-out of most Stage 2 aircraft,” he said. “That legislation was included in the 1990 FAA reauthorization bill known as the ‘Airport Noise and Capacity Act’ or ANCA. The phase-out of Stage 2 aircraft called for in ANCA was completed by the year 2000.”

Both the FAA regulatory action in 1985 and the 1990 congressional action applied only to aircraft weighing more than 75,000 pounds. Stage 1 and Stage 2 aircraft that weigh less than that were not affected and many continue to fly.