But before those flights can be eliminated, the FAA has to approve the curfew, which some say could be an uphill battle.
In a 2004 letter from the FAA, Victoria Catlett, an official in the office of airport planning and programming, said the benefits of a curfew would not be worth the cost to canceled flights.
The letter also called into question the point of a mandatory curfew, as the voluntary curfew has a compliance rate of about 97%.
Airport officials contested the FAA’s position that the cost of the curfew would outweigh the benefits.
The cost to airlines, passengers, cargo carriers and general aviation could total $55 million for the 10-year length of the curfew from canceled flights, while savings that would occur by a reduced need for residential acoustical treatment programs near the airport with a curfew in place would amount to $67 million for the same period, Gill said.
The mandatory curfew would exempt certain flights for certain medical emergencies and in some cases where inclement weather delays flights, Gill said.
“This would be the first application to the FAA for a [mandatory curfew] by any U.S. airport since Congress passed the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990, which barred airport imposition of new access restrictions unless approved by the FAA,” he said. “This is groundbreaking territory. We know we have an uphill battle, but the deal is to fight the fight and go as far as we can.”
Other airports, such as Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, have mandatory curfews in that they impose a restriction on flying from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., but no airport has ever asked for a curfew after 1990 for quieter, stage 3 planes, Gill said.
“Prior to the Airport Noise and Capacity Act, the FAA was silent on curfews,” he said. “It’s hard to gauge what the FAA is thinking because no airport has ever started and finished a 161 study.”