Today, the House failed to pass an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced with colleagues Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, the Valley-Wide Noise Relief Act. The amendment would have allowed Bob Hope and Van Nuys Airports to adopt curfews.
"I am disappointed that our amendment to allow Bob Hope and Van Nuys Airports to adopt mandatory curfews failed, but in what may be the first-ever vote on this issue in Congress we had a substantial amount of support that we can build on, and I am determined to press on," Rep. Schiff said. "These airports should have been permitted to retain the curfews they had in place decades ago, and I am determined to correct this historic inequity. The Part 161 process is deeply flawed and the FAA has little intention of granting relief to any community unless forced. I will continue fighting on behalf of the thousands of San Fernando Valley residents who have long-sought relief from aviation-related nighttime noise."
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Schiff and co-sponsored by Reps. Sherman and Berman, would clarify that, for many of the same reasons that several other airports were exempted when it was enacted in 1990, these two airports should be exempted from the Airport Noise and Capacity Act. In the case of the Bob Hope Airport, this was one of the first airports in the country to impose a curfew. The Van Nuys curfew was a partial curfew that applied to some, but not all, operators. The language would allow Burbank and Van Nuys Airports to adopt non-discriminatory curfews applicable to operators from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
The legislation would apply only to airports that already had at least a partial curfew in effect before 1990 when ANCA was enacted. The legislation is designed to address the omission of not allowing curfews at these two airports, but is not intended to open the door to any further exemptions from that Act.
Furthermore, it would address concerns that the FAA cited in rejecting Burbank's Part 161 application for a curfew -- that it would add congestion to an already crowded airspace and it would impact the national system of airports because it would cause system wide delays. The proposal would have a minimal impact on local airspace because a joint curfew for both airports is designed to ensure that air traffic is not shifted from one airport to the other. Additionally, as Van Nuys Airport is part of a larger consortium of airports, including one of the largest in the country, LAX, that is willing and able to accept nighttime traffic the consortium can structure and implement the curfew in a manner that ensures that it does not negatively affect local and national airspace.