Reps. Pressley, Lynch, Kennedy, Clark, Senators Warren, Markey Press Major Airlines at Boston Logan to Reduce Airplane Noise

February 3, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), along with Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), Congressman Joseph Kennedy III (MA-04), House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Katherine Clark (MA-05), and United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) sent letters to three airlines with major operations at Boston Logan International Airport--American Airlines, Delta and Southwest Airlines--urging them to act to reduce airplane-related noise problems that have affected Massachusetts residents and communities across the country.

Since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) introduced the NextGen satellite-based navigation system in 2013, which was meant to create more fuel-efficient flight paths, communities in Massachusetts and throughout the country have experienced increased airplane noise, with the Massachusetts Port Authority and several municipalities seeing a sharp spike in airplane noise complaints.

"As Congress works to address airplane noise, and address the noise pollution that has resulted from FAA's new navigation system, your company can also take steps to alleviate concerns of communities affected by increased airplane noise," the lawmakers wrote in their letters.

The lawmakers noted that several airlines with operations in Boston Logan Airport have voluntarily taken measures to address airplane-related noise problems affecting nearby communities. In October 2018, following a letter the lawmakers sent with other members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, JetBlue announced plans to retrofit its entire Airbus fleet with noise-reducing vortex generators. In their latest letters, the lawmakers asked the airlines to implement similar measures.

"We ask that your company take steps to reduce airplane noise from your fleet and provide information about how your company has worked to mitigate noise-related complaints associated with your airplanes by February 28, 2020," the lawmakers continued.

The full text of the letter is below and can be found here.

Doug Parker

Chief Executive Officer

American Airlines, Inc.

4255 Amon Carter Boulevard

Fort Worth, Texas 76155

 

Ed Bastian

Chief Executive Officer

Delta Air Lines, Inc.

1030 Delta Blvd.

Atlanta, Georgia 30320

 

Gary C. Kelly

Chief Executive Officer

Southwest Airlines Co.

2702 Love Field Dr.

Dallas, Texas 75235

We write in regards to ongoing concerns regarding elevated noise levels created by NextGen flight paths in Massachusetts communities and communities throughout the country. Given your company's operations at Boston Logan International Airport, we ask that your airline take measures to reduce airplane-related noise problems that have affected Massachusetts residents and others affected by airplane noise issues across the country, including communities in and around San Diego, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC.

Since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) introduced the NextGen satellite-based navigation system in 2013, which was meant to create more fuel-efficient flight paths, our offices have heard from numerous communities in Massachusetts that have experienced increased airplane noise. The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), which operates Boston Logan International Airport, and several municipalities have seen a sharp spike in airplane noise complaints since implementing NextGen. For example, in the first two months of 2019, Massport received nearly 18,000 total noise complaints from Greater Boston, and as of September 2019, the City of Medford, Massachusetts, alone received nearly 25,000 noise complaints for the year.

Researchers continue to study the noise issues caused by the new flight patterns and impacts on local communities.

The Air Traffic Noise and Pollution Expert Consensus Act of 2019 was introduced to require the FAA to work with the National Academy of Sciences to study the effects of air traffic noise and pollution on human health. This bill would seek to determine causes of increased noise reports and health impacts of increased jet noise and to make recommendations on how to address the problem. The Cleaner, Quieter Airplanes Act has also been introduced to make investments in the technology needed to cut airplane noise and carbon pollution from commercial airlines in half. As Congress works to address airplane noise, and address the noise pollution that has resulted from FAA's new navigation system, your company can also take steps to alleviate concerns of communities affected by increased airplane noise.

Several airlines with operations at Boston Logan Airport have voluntarily taken measures to address airplane-related noise problems affecting nearby communities.  Notably, in October 2018, following a letter we sent with other members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, JetBlue announced plans to retrofit their entire Airbus fleet with noise-reducing vortex generators.    In our letter to JetBlue, we noted that airlines, including Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa, and United Airlines, voluntarily retrofitted or developed plans to retrofit certain aircrafts with generators that would reduce airplane noise. We ask that your company implement similar measures.

We ask that your company take steps to reduce airplane noise from your fleet and provide information about how your company has worked to mitigate noise-related complaints associated with your airplanes by February 28, 2020.

 

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