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Authorities fly to Plan B

With FAA denying application for curfew, officials look to state legislation.

November 18, 2009|By Christopher Cadelago

BOB HOPE AIRPORT — In their first public comments since federal officials turned down a nine-year, multimillion-dollar application for nighttime flight restrictions, Bob Hope Airport officials on Monday said that they would keep pushing for noise relief.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Nov. 2 denied a request from the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority for a ban on air traffic at the airport between 10 p.m. and 6:59 a.m., with exceptions for emergency flights and medical aircraft.

It was a major blow to the airport authority, which had spent nine years and $7 million on the application.

FAA officials determined such a move would harm the national air traffic system, and pointed to measures the authority could undertake short of being granted a curfew.

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“No one pounded on the dais, but we spent nine years and $7 million on this effort — real time and money — and really [the FAA] just said no,” airport Commissioner Charles Lombardo said. “The FAA said we don’t have a nighttime noise problem. Well, if you ask the people around the airport, I think they would give you a different answer.”

Executive Director Dan Feger indicated that the airport authority would explore bringing together affected cities, lawmakers and airlines to obtain a mandatory curfew either through federal legislation or a negotiated settlement with affected constituents.

The airport authority would also commission a new, less costly study to buttress its ongoing noise alleviation measures.

City officials this month laid out their Plan B to the FAA rejection after Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signaled support for legislation that would regulate noise at Van Nuys and Bob Hope airports.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) announced plans to introduce legislation that would allow Bob Hope and Van Nuys airports to implement mandatory nighttime curfews. Support has also come from Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and Howard Berman (D-Valley Village), and officials are working to identify a legislative vehicle in Congress to attach their curfew language.

“We’re pushing for that,” airport Commissioner Don Brown said. “[The FAA] is going to really have to batter us and badger us if they think we’re going to stop. We’re going to do what we have to do.”

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