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FAA urges further study

Approval of curfew for Bob Hope Airport could be delayed for more than a year, according to the aviation agency.

June 18, 2008|By Jeremy Oberstein

But even if support for Burbank’s curfew — which would be the first in the nation to impose a ban on stage-three aircraft — does cross city lines, the process might be complicated by what could be more than a year’s worth of delays at a cost that could double the $6 million the authority has spent putting the proposal together, officials said.

The FAA is calling on the airport authority to look into two areas of potential significance: noise to outlying communities that stand to be affected by the planned flight shift and air quality that could be worsened as a result of redirected planes.

“Because of shifts of ground transportation and aircraft that would be diverted to nearby airports, including the queuing to take off at 7 a.m., it could decrease the quality of air,” said Victoria Catlett, an environmental specialist with the FAA. “They may find out there won’t be an impact, but we need to take a look.”

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In calling for more studies, airport commissioners expressed a near unanimous fear that the FAA, which must approve the proposed ban, is setting up barriers that will ground the authority’s eight-year effort to complete the Part 161 Study and provide nighttime noise relief to surrounding residents.

“I think the Part 161 Study is designed for failure,” Burbank Commissioner Don Brown said. “There is no end in sight. [The FAA] can continue doing what they want to do for years and years and years, and we’re going to need help from Congress to straighten this mess out.”

But Catlett said the FAA is abiding by guidelines established by Congress.

Reps. Adam Schiff and Howard Berman, whose districts include Bob Hope Airport and the surrounding region, have both issued strong support for the proposal.

Schiff has said he intends to press the FAA in seeing the curfew through the legislative process, hoping to alleviate concerns that the Part 161 acceptance process is not never-ending.

“The FAA has established a process but doesn’t intend to let communities succeed,” Schiff said. “Congressman Berman and I want to make sure that that is not the case, that this is not a legislative charade.”

Rep. Brad Sherman, bound by constituents in Burbank and Van Nuys, has not taken a stand on the curfew.

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