FAA vetoes Burbank noise curfew

 - November 24, 2009, 3:58 AM

On October 30 the FAA rejected the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority’s application for a nighttime noise curfew. The airport spent more than $7 million applying for permission to restrict nighttime operations under FAR Part 161, submitting a completed application on May 29. Burbank Airport had to meet six statutory conditions mandated by the Airport Noise and Capacity Act and federal law for the FAA to approve the curfew; it met only two, according to the agency. The two conditions were: showing that the proposed curfew didn’t conflict with existing U.S. laws and regulations; and that plenty of opportunity was provided for public comment.

The FAA did agree that “there is substantial evidence that a current or future noise problem exists and that the proposal would relieve the noise problem.” But the curfew doesn’t meet the requirement to be “reasonable, non-arbitrary and nondiscriminatory” because “there is not substantial evidence that other available remedies are infeasible or would be less cost-effective.” The airport did not show that its plan does not create an undue burden on interstate or foreign commerce; is not inconsistent with maintaining the safe and efficient use of the navigable airspace; and does not create an undue burden on the national aviation system.

The Burbank-Glendale-Pas-adena Airport Commission issued a statement following the FAA’s release of its 42-page denial, noting that it is “deeply disappointed in the denial of its application and renewed its commitment to seeking meaningful nighttime noise relief.”

NBAA applauded the FAA’s decision. “When business aviation access is preserved at airports,” said president and CEO Ed Bolen, “it’s also a win for nearby communities, which benefit from the jobs, investment and economic activity that are created.” NATA president Jim Coyne said, “This decision will help ensure that in the future airport sponsors fully evaluate the feasibility of non-restrictive solutions to noise issues before proposing to limit users’ access to federally obligated airports.”