Burbank calls FAA decision ‘minor setback’

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A day after the Federal Aviation Adminstration denied an application to introduce flight curfews at Bob Hope Airport, Burbank city officials released a statement calling the action “a minor setback” for the years-long effort.

Here’s the city’s statement in full:

STATEMENT OF THE CITY OF BURBANK
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION REJECTION OF AIRPORT AUTHORITY CURFEW APPLICATION
 
 
BURBANK, Calif. (November 3, 2009) – Yesterday, the Federal Aviation Administration rejected the  application by the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority for a mandatory curfew at Bob Hope Airport.
 
The Airport Authority has been through a lengthy and expensive process to convert the voluntary curfew into a mandatory curfew for all non-emergency nighttime operations.  The City of Burbank appreciates that the Airport Authority put in the time and resources to complete and submit a thorough application in the face of opposition from both the FAA and some Airport users.

A curfew is essential.  It would provide a refuge of quiet during the night for thousands of Burbank and Los Angeles residents.  The evidence in support of a curfew is overwhelming.  Burbank has a 40-year-long history of battling nighttime noise including countless lawsuits over the issue.  Meanwhile, hundreds of people continue to be awakened each night by aircraft landing at or taking off from the Airport.

The FAA’s decision to turn down the curfew is extremely disappointing, but not entirely surprising.  The FAA does not look favorably on curfews. The City thinks that the FAA has misunderstood its direction from Congress, and the City told the FAA just that in our comments on the Authority’s application. 

When Congress changed the law in 1990 to require FAA approval of curfews, it intended to allow airports to adopt curfews in special situations like those at the Bob Hope Airport.  The FAA has failed to provide a balance between aviation interests and the rights of airport neighbors.

The City strongly supported the Authority’s decision to go through this process because it knew it was a necessary step in what has been – and will continue to be – a long effort. This community is entitled to a curfew, but the system that could permit one is broken.

From the City’s perspective, the FAA’s decision is only a minor setback.    For the last several months, the City has been working closely with our representatives in Congress to provide the City’s perspective on this process and to advocate for noise relief.  Members of Congress acted quickly and decisively in response to the FAA’s decision.  The City appreciates the public statements of support from Representatives Adam Schiff, Howard Berman, and Brad Sherman and, in particular, wishes to thank the Members for their commitment to introduce legislation that would authorize a mandatory curfew notwithstanding the FAA’s unfortunate decision.

During this time, the City also has been working with other communities in the San Fernando Valley to explore our common ground in the search for noise relief.  In particular, City officials have been working closely with Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa.  We appreciate Mayor Villaraigosa’s publicly-stated commitment to collaborate with the City on a solution that will address nighttime noise problems at Bob Hope and Van Nuys Airports.

Once again, the City would like to thank the Airport Authority for its efforts to complete and submit the application to the FAA. The FAA’s decision has only reinforced our commitment to addressing the compelling need for a curfew.  The City hopes that it can move forward together with the Authority and our other friends in search of a solution.

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Written by Jason Wells

November 3, 2009 at 6:27 pm

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