Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration Thursday on behalf of residents and businesses in the southeast San Fernando Valley who have endured a significant increase in airplane noise and traffic due to changes in the flight paths of planes at Hollywood Burbank Airport.
While airplane noise associated with the airport has been a constant for years, there has been an uptick of complaints regarding an increased aural disruption after those flight patterns shifted to more south of the 101 and 405 freeway interchange and across the Santa Monica Mountains.
The recent shift in flight patterns is due to the agency’s implementation of SoCal Metroplex; that project, implemented two years ago, seeks to replace dozens of existing conventional air traffic procedures with new satellite-based procedures, which are a key component of the FAA’s satellite system called Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).
The lawsuit is seeking to require the FAA to order its air traffic controllers to direct aircraft to depart the airport using historic departure tracks, according to a press release issued by Feuer’s office.
“We’re fighting to get relief for tens of thousands of residents and businesses in the southeast Valley and Santa Monica Mountains who’ve borne the brunt of increased aircraft noise and other impacts,” Feuer said during his news conference. “Today we’re urging the court to order the FAA to return to previous flight patterns and divulge information about Burbank Airport airplane traffic which the public has long been entitled to see.”
According to the city’s complaint, “In 2017, FAA promulgated two departure procedures at the Hollywood Burbank Airport as part of the Southern California Metroplex project. FAA’s environmental assessment for the new procedures relied on the assumption that departing aircraft would follow historic flight tracks. However, two years later, and after hundreds of thousands of noise complaints from frustrated city residents and businesses, the FAA conceded that, in recent years, departing aircraft have consistently deviated from the historic flight tracks by flying a more southerly path.”
Feuer has been hounding the FAA for months. In November, per a Los Angeles Daily News report, Feuer demanded that the FAA correct the “erroneous” southern shift of airport departures at Hollywood Burbank.
Councilmembers Paul Krekorian (Council District 2), David Ryu (Council District 4) and Paul Koretz (Council District 5) joined Feuer in the announcement, which was held at City Hall in downtown Los Angeles.
"While thousands of my constituents have their lives disrupted day and night by departing planes,” Krekorian said, “the FAA refuses to give direct answers why the shift has taken place. This lawsuit is needed to compel the agency to provide critical information it continues to withhold.”