Residents Advocate Against Airplane Noise

BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
Staff Writer

About 150 residents gathered at PS 69 in Jackson Heights on Nov. 25 to advocate against the increase in airplane noise that comes from the frequent flights landing and taking off from LaGuardia Airport.

Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) organized the town hall meeting to discuss the increase in airplane noise, which occurs during the early morning hours over the weekends.

“Plane noise is a fact of life when you live close to an airport, but since October, my district has been inundated with the roar of airplanes,” Dromm said.

The increase of noisy planes is the product of the increase in weekend construction on the runways at LaGuardia Airport and new flight patters instituted by the Federal Aviation Administration, called NextGen.

According to the FAA, this new, energy-efficient program makes flying more fuel-efficient, while the GPS allows airplanes to take-off and land more frequently by using technology to better track planes and safely decrease the distance between two aircrafts.

Janet McEneaney, president and founder of Queens Quiet Skies, a group made up of residents who live around airports, wants to reduce noise from the flights at LaGuardia Airport and create an Aviation Roundtable, where stakeholders and airlines can collaborate to make changes to the frequent airplane noise.

Since Congress approved the NextGen procedure in 2012, McEneaney said “every NextGen flight procedure does not have to have an environmental assessment unless the FAA administrator in Washington thinks there are extraordinary circumstances.”

McEneaney went on to say, “New York is an extraordinary circumstance because it is extremely crowded and there are a lot of airports.”

Even though representatives from the Port Authority and the FAA were not able to provide immediate answers to the noise complaints, Dromm said he would like to work with the regional and federal offices to create an action plan to address this problem.

Ian Van Praagh, a representative from the Port Authority, said after their new website launches in January, it will show what construction is happening on which runways and how that will affect neighborhoods.

Susan Carroll of Flushing and a member of Queens Quiet Skies said the airplane noise is very unbearable, it goes on all day and there is never a break.

“There is never a moment of peace because even when it is quieter, you know that the flight paths can immediately change,” Carroll said.

Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, tsakhuja@queenstribune.com, or @Tsakhuja13.