March 29, 2007

CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia, 908-527-4419


By Freeholder Dan Sullivan

With its stunning announcement to endorse a flight plan that would dramatically increase airplane noise over the region, the FAA has succeeded in uniting area residents and the Port Authority, which operates the region’s airports, in protest against it.

Of several options under consideration, the FAA---in the face of Union County residents---selected the Integrated Airspace Alternative, which has the largest noise impact, and carries an estimated implementation cost
of $2.5 billion.

freeholder sullivan

The Union County Freeholder Board, area residents and citizen’s groups such as the New Jersey Coalition Against Aircraft Noise have opposed this plan, and the Port Authority, which operates Newark Liberty Airport, John F. Kennedy International, Teterboro and Philadelphia International, issued a statement condemning it.

“For example, we recommended using routes over the Hudson River and the Long Island Sound that would have further reduced delays and noise impacts, but that was dismissed,” the Port Authority said in its statement.

While all Union County residents can expect more noise, those living closest to the airport will get an even louder dose, since the FAA plans to propose the dropping of noise abatement restrictions at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Among its lowlights, the FAA plan would increase low altitude aircraft traffic over densely populated residential communities, reducing the overall altitudes for arrivals and introducing low altitude holding patterns in the metropolitan area. The net effect would increase aircraft emissions in the metropolitan area.

Whatever small capacity increases that may occur under this plan will be rapidly taken advantage of by the carriers to schedule additional flights during traffic peaks, which will not help to reduce delays.

The FAA should have considered implementing internal solutions such as the increased use of larger aircraft that would move more people, and flight schedule changes which do not cause interminable delays during peak hours. A more prudent course of action---and one that is most economical—would have been to implement these recommendations with existing flight patterns.

Finally, the FAA expects to schedule public meetings for the Airspace Redesign project in April-one in each state affected by the redesign. The agency expects to publish the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) in June and issue a record of decision (ROD) in August.

For anyone wishing to voice their displeasure with the FAA’s decision, here are some of the main people to contact based off their webpage (

Aircraft noise complaints and inquiries should be directed to

comments about the Airspace Redesign Project should be sent to
Steve Kelley, FAA
c/o Nessa Memberg
12005 Sunrise Valley Drive, MS C3.02
Reston, VA 20191