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Airport curfew within reach

FAA says application is missing answers to two questions. Airport authority has 30 days to resubmit paperwork.

March 07, 2009|By Christopher Cadelago

BURBANK — The Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday informed the Burbank-Glendale- Pasadena Airport Authority that its application for a proposed nighttime curfew at Bob Hope Airport — nine years and $6 million in the making — is complete, with two minor exceptions.

The announcement was made in a letter addressed to the authority’s executive director, Dan Feger, and signed by the FAA’s acting associate administrator for airports, Catherine Lang. In the letter, Lang confirmed that the authority’s nearly 800-page request to restrict all landings and departures at the Bob Hope Airport between 10 p.m. and 6:59 a.m. is missing answers to two key questions.

The authority must resolve whether a 10 p.m. curfew would reallocate 8,830 flights to Ontario Airport, as its application states, or 6,336, which the FAA contends. It must also clear up whether the bulk of operations shifted to Ontario Airport would be of a Bombardier Dash 8 or Bombardier Dash 6 type aircraft, since the authority mentioned both in its report.


The authority, which meets in closed session Monday, has 30 days to resubmit its application, after which the FAA will begin a formal 180-day review. Known as the Bob Hope Airport Part 161 Study, it’s the first conducted by an airport to make it this far into the review process, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

“It’s a long time in the making,” airport Commissioner Charles Lombardo said. “I’m very happy that we got this letter and can move forward.”

Bob Hope Airport officials commissioned the study in 2000 after decades of complaints from neighbors of the area’s noise and pollution. Nearly 200,000 people in the county are subjected to the noise, airport spokesman Victor Gill said. If the FAA approves the curfew, the airport estimates it will save some $67 million over 10 years. It would, however, lose $48 million by curbing its flight schedule, according to the study.

Bob Hope Airport was one of the first airports in the country to ban noisy airplanes from its grounds, four years before the FAA set forth Federal Aviation Regulation Part 161 in 1991, Gill said. The regulation states that if airports wish to impose new operation regulations on their grounds, they must complete a lengthy report and have it approved by the FAA.

Along with a positive cost-benefit analysis, meaning that the airport could not get FAA approval for the curfew without proving that it would not lose money, the airport must also satisfy several other requirements. The curfew cannot unduly burden interstate or foreign commerce, cannot conflict with federal law and must be safe. The process must also involve adequate public involvement.

“We’ll do whatever we can — write letters, get our congressmen involved, listen to our neighbors and neighbors of the airport,” Burbank Mayor Dave Golonski said.

In January, the authority approved a $44,500 contract with a communications firm to help better inform the public about the airport’s efforts to obtain a nighttime curfew.

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