Way, even those who are directly involved in the proceedings must be
excused for asking "what does it all mean?"
With the announcement that a new federal Part 161 study is on the
horizon, we not only have seemingly lost any momentum that was building
to solve the terminal puzzle, we appear to be right back at square one:
The Airport Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration are
insisting the only way to obtain a mandatory flight curfew at Burbank
Airport is through the Part 161 study and the city is equally insistent
that no new terminal be built without a nighttime curfew.
As recently as last year, before the Framework for Settlement was
signed, the Airport Authority was making plans to conduct a Part 161
study, its application to the federal government for noise-control
measures. That effort never got off the table, in part because of deep
distrust by Burbank officials that the airport would not play fair. Now,
the city is endorsing the $4-million study, which is expected to take two
to three years to complete.
Why the change of heart?
The answer is that after years of rancorous negotiations and
litigation, the city and the airport have finally realized they will have
to work together to get what they want. Finally, the shared objective is
to convince the FAA that a safer and more modern terminal will not be
built in Burbank -- not this year, not 10 years from now -- without
meaningful noise protections for the residents of this city.
This time around it's in everyone's best interest to cooperate. With
the Part 161 study, a new terminal at Burbank Airport is several years
away at the earliest. Without it, the city and the airport are headed for
a new round of stalemate, and possibly, a new round of litigation as