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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Discussion of Ban Catches Some Businesses Off Guard

Business tenants at Van Nuys Airport were surprised last week when a resolution came before the Board of Airport Commissioners to revisit a ban on certain types of jet aircraft. The commissioner approved on April 17 having the executive director of the Los Angeles World Airports return within 60 days with a report on pursuing the ban of stage 2 aircraft. Harold Lee, owner of Million Air and president of the Van Nuys Airport Association, said he was not aware that the resolution seeking the ban was going before the commissioners until two days before the meeting. “It’s their airport so they can do what they want but it would be nice to communicate with the tenants,” Lee said. The commission’s action reaffirms a position originally taken in 1990 on phasing out the Stage 2 aircraft. In 1999, the commission allowed any of the aircraft that had been tied down or stored at the airport for a 90-day period to remain. Stage 2 is a designation by the Federal Aviation Administration for aircraft with a certain noise level when operating. Stage 1 aircraft are banned in the United States while Stage 3 aircraft are the quietest. Manufacturers stopped making Stage 2 aircraft in 1986. By 1989, about 90 percent of the planes at Van Nuys were of that type but their number has dwindled since then. Lee estimated there are about 40 stage 2 jets currently using the airport. “They are going away on their own,” Lee said. “So I don’t see what the point is to do this. We don’t even know who put it on the agenda.” The report from the executive director will focus on four areas a nighttime curfew for planes with takeoff noise levels above 74 decibels; restrictions on repetitive aircraft operations; restrictions on maintenance run-ups; and designating a preferential runway for nighttime hours. Van Nuys Airport Manager Selena Birk said that the nighttime curfew is already in place, and that the preferential runway may not be an issue because the airport only has two runways. “There can’t be a preferential one because they are side by side,” Birk said. “And the shorter one is closed at night.” Robert L. Rodine, a management consultant with clients in the aviation industry, foresees severe negative affects on businesses at Van Nuys if the ban were to go through. Rodine estimates there are five jobs associated with each individual Stage 2 aircraft that are in jeopardy if the ban goes through. “It also affects other jobs, administrative and support roles and the supply chain of the things the aircrafts consume,” Rodine said. In response to the commission’s action, the business community needs to appeal to reason, Rodine said. “The next thing you do is get to the elected officials who are driving this. and ask them the question pointblank is this really necessary,” Rodine said. “I’m speaking about need. Is failure to remove detrimental to the community’s health? Is it significantly damaging to the community from an economic standpoint. Or is it to accommodate the desires of some people.” During his mayoral campaign, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa came out in favor of phasing out the Stage 2 aircraft to reduce the noise impacts on adjacent residential neighborhoods. Lee, who serves with Rodine as co-chairman of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association’s aviation committee, is taking a more cautious approach and is not sure what the outcome of the commission’s action will be. However, Lee said that what is upsetting tenants at the airport is that the resolution seems to be circumventing noise studies that were agreed to as part of a new master plan adopted for the airport in the fall.

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