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Study suggests curfew at Bob Hope

Ongoing probe is looking into ways to lessen noise for residents but keeping airport costs low.

August 22, 2007|By Chris Wiebe

AIRPORT DISTRICT — A curfew on departures at Bob Hope Airport might bring the most benefit to nearby residents while causing the fewest adverse effects on passenger airlines and cargo carriers.

That was the message of preliminary findings from an airport study into ways to reduce aircraft-related noise, discussed Monday at a Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority meeting.

The ongoing airport study hopes to make a case to the Federal Aviation Administration that aircraft noise near the airport is enough of a problem to require an exception to national policy, which does not put restrictions on newer types of aircraft, airport spokesman Victor Gill said.

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The challenge is to decrease noise while minimizing economic costs at the airport, Gill said.

“The trick is to come up with a restriction that gets you a calculable noise benefit, but also has a calculable economic benefit that is exceeded by the noise benefit,” he said.

“So you’re required to go to rather extreme lengths to do things that are very, very tough to do.”

Exploring three hypothetical strategies to reduce airport-related noise, the study pits the costs to aviation companies against the monetary benefits to residents in terms of their property values, reduced need for soundproofing their homes and other factors.

The first strategy would put a full curfew on aircraft arrivals and departures between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

But preliminary findings show that a full curfew would produce an unbalanced benefit-cost ratio, said Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority Commissioner Charlie Lombardo.

Costs to aviation activity was projected at $52.1 million, compared with a $31.6 million monetary benefit to residents, according to the presentation to airport commissioners.

“As we can see from the raw data that we have there — and remember it’s only preliminary — that the full curfew does not achieve the cost-benefit analysis,” he said.

The second strategy would impose a decibel limit on planes traveling to and from the airport during the night. And the third strategy — the one of the three that generates a positive value of benefits to costs — would place a curfew on flights leaving Bob Hope Airport.

“The reason the departure curfew is looking good at the moment is that it is the only one of the three that the total monetary benefits are enough to outweigh the total costs,” Gill said.

Cargo carriers would not suffer as much of a penalty because their departures do not occur during hours that would be restricted, Gill said. Commercial carriers also would not have to divert planes to other airports, in case of a delayed arrival at Bob Hope, Gill said.

A consultant for the airport authority will continue to conduct the study, in hopes of finding a noise-reduction plan aviation officials agree upon, Lombardo said.

“Hopefully, now this will achieve the desired cost-benefit analysis result that will satisfy the FAA,” he said.

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