The longer that the House and Senate take to vote on FAA reauthorization legislation, the more likely that new proposals will be added that will further delay any vote. A good case in point is a recent letter sent by three California congressmen to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, asking for nighttime curfew legislation for Bob Hope Airport in Burbank to be added to the reauthorization bill. The request by democratic representatives Brad Sherman, Adam Schiff and Howard Berman seeks to “address an oversight in the Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA) of 1990 that has had a tremendous impact on Southern California.”
Last year, Burbank made a formal Part 161 application to the FAA to enact a nighttime curfew at Burbank, but the FAA rejected that move. Now the congressmen want to force the FAA into accepting a nighttime curfew at Burbank and Van Nuys airports, and the only way for this to take place is by federal legislation. A similar move permitted the California city of Rialto to close its airport, even though the airport had accepted federal grant money over many years. That airport remains open due to recession-induced delays in developing the airport land and surrounding property.
The letter to the House Committee asserts that the ANCA shouldn’t apply to Burbank and Van Nuys because they had curfews in place before the act became law. “The legislation is designed to address the omission of not allowing curfews at these two airports, but is not intended to open the door to any further exemptions from that Act,” the letter states. It goes on to claim that because both Van Nuys and Burbank would have nighttime curfews, traffic that the FAA said would have shifted from Burbank to Van Nuys would now be absorbed by other local airports, namely Los Angeles International. This is likely no comfort to companies that depend on being able to use Burbank at night, especially freight operator Ameriflight and charter operators that serve celebrity clientele.