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Local News December 12, 2013  RSS feed

TIME TO MUFFLE NOISY AIRCRAFT

House Bill Seeks ‘Silent Skies’ Over Qns.
by Max Jaeger


Rep. Joseph Crowley held a press conference at LaGuardia Airport, Dec. 6, announcing the Silent Skies Act, a bill aimed at reducing airplane noise in communities near airports. Rep. Joseph Crowley held a press conference at LaGuardia Airport, Dec. 6, announcing the Silent Skies Act, a bill aimed at reducing airplane noise in communities near airports. Federal lawmakers from Queens have introduced a bill that would require quieter airplanes in the city’s airports.

Rep. Joseph Crowley announced the legislation Friday, Dec. 6., along with the bill’s co-sponsors, Representatives Steve Israel, Grace Meng and Gregory Meeks.

The Silent Skies Act (H.R. 3650) would compel the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which oversees air traffic, to require all commercial jets to meet stricter, “Stage 4” noise standards. Under the bill, the FAA would have until Dec. 3, 2015 to comply.

“Airports can never be perfect neighbors, but we can take steps to make them better neighbors,” said Crowley. “The Silent Skies Act will help achieve that goal by requiring airlines to begin stocking their fleets with newer, quieter aircraft.”

Currently, only new airplanes must meet Stage 4 standards.

“Airplane noise continues to ruin the quality of life in Queens,” said Meng. “It is imperative that we do all we can to reduce it, and requiring airlines to fly quieter aircrafts would go a long way towards achieving that critical goal. I’m happy to support the Silent SkiesAct and look forward to working with Congressman Crowley to pass it.”

The FAA’s requirement would take affect gradually. By the end of 2020, one-quarter of commercial jets over 75,000 pounds would need to meet Stage 4 requirements. Half of commercial jets must comply by 2025; 100 percent by 2035.

The bill provides for a maximum $10 million per year for three years to aid in bringing older, in-service aircraft up to date.

Airlines would have to repay federal government funding if retrofitted aircraft remained in service long enough to turn a profit, according to the bill.

The bill also calls on the FAA to seek cooperation from international aviation bodies to bring foreign jets that use U.S. airports up to standards.

Quality-of-life watchdogs and airport advocates lauded the bill Friday.

“Queens Quiet Skies (QQS) applauds Representative Crowley's initiative to take action against aircraft noise at its source and to provide funding for noise research that will benefit all of us,” said QQS President Janet McEneaney. “With this proposed legislation, Crowley is telling members of the airline industry that we expect them to take their share of responsibility to fix the problems caused by those new flight procedures.”

Officials from the global Gateway Alliance, which addresses “major challenges facing the metropolitan region’s airports,” said the legislation would help create jobs brining noncompling planes up to code.

“Quieter planes are vital to expanding the capacity we need at New York / New Jersey airports— and creating the good-paying jobs and economic development our families deserve,” the Global Gateway Alliance’s Executive Director Steve Sigmund said in a statement issued Friday. “We applaud Congressman Crowley for his work and for bringing key stakeholders together to try to make this a reality.”