On January 18, the city’s airport advisory commission held the first of three community meetings to discuss a possible increase of fines for aircraft noise violations at Long Beach Airport.
Increasing the fines would require amending the airport’s noise ordinance, which was adopted in 1995. It mandates that commercial flights be scheduled between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and sets a limit for noise levels at all hours.
Airport staff proposed raising the fines due to an increase in late-night flights and noise violations. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of violations increased from 89 to 134. And during just the first few months of 2017, they totaled 134, according to information from the City of Long Beach.
The current fine is $100 for the first violation and $300 for each additional breach in the same year, according to the city. These fines are significantly lower than those at John Wayne Airport in Orange County and at San Diego International Airport. The airport recommends raising it to $2,500 for the first through fifth violations.
“From our perspective, and based on the feedback we got from the community members in attendance, I think the meeting went very well,” Airport Director Jess Romo said of the recent commission meeting. “Part of this process requires us to review all of the input from residents and businesses. Then, we’ll put together a request for an opinion from the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration].”
The next two community meetings are set for February 7 at 6 p.m. at the Long Beach Gas & Oil Auditorium, 2400 E. Spring St., and February 10 at 10 a.m. at the Expo Arts Center, 4321 Atlantic Ave.
JetBlue To Appeal Noise Violation Fines
At the March 13 city council meeting, JetBlue Airways is appealing a decision by Long Beach City Manager Pat West to uphold the carrier’s late-night noise violation fines.
Assistant City Attorney Michael Mais explained that exceptions to the noise violation ordinance are granted only for emergencies.
“The section that the council will be asked to look at on appeal is the one that says late flights are exempt if they are late because of an explicit air traffic control direction,” Mais said. “Only recently, JetBlue asked us to interpret it in a different way, which is to make an exception for any air traffic control direction at any airport in the country or world. JetBlue schedules their flights at the other end in a way that they don’t leave a lot of margin in case something goes wrong.”
Mais said the city is trying to balance both JetBlue’s operational concerns and the quality of life concerns for the people who live in the vicinity of the airport.