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Saturday, Jul 20, 2024

UPDATE Airport Board Recommends Jet Phaseout

The Los Angeles World Airport board of directors voted May 4 to recommend the Los Angeles City Council approve phasing out older, noisier jets at Van Nuys Airport. Reducing the number of noisy aircraft has long been a contentious issue before the LAWA board and has pit nearby residents against businesses based at the Valley airfield. The ordinance has drawn opposition from business and aviation groups, including the Valley Industry & Commerce Association and the National Business Aviation Association. It now goes to a City Council committee before being voted upon by the full council. Clay Lacy, who has operated private jet charter from Van Nuys longer than any tenant, called the proposal poorly thought out in a time of harsh economic conditions. Activity at the airport is down 40 percent and the corporate aviation industry has lost thousands of employees as aircraft manufacturers pull back on building new models, Lacy said. “The airport will lose money; LAWA will lose money from fuel sales,” Lacy said. The ordinance sets noise limits at the airport for departing aircraft beginning with jets with a noise level of 85 decibels. By or after Jan. 1, 2016 no aircraft can operate at Van Nuys at more than 77 decibels. In the final environmental review of the ordinance, the airport agency expects that passage would result in some older aircraft being retired, others modified to reduce noise, and others being relocated to other general aviation airports, including Camarillo Airport and William J. Fox Airfield near Lancaster. Aircraft used for military activities or medical, police and fire emergencies would be exempt from the restrictions. While no exact figure could be given on the number of aircraft affected if the City Council approves the ordinance, a consultant hired by LAWA estimated that about two dozen jets would either be replaced or modified. “People who fly into Van Nuys want to do so and don’t want to go to another airport,” said Peter Stumpp, of Simat, Helliesen & Eichner Inc. “They will make the investment to continue to fly here.” The ordinance reaffirms a position originally taken in 1990 to do away with Stage 2 aircraft. The board revisited the issue in 2006 and added amendments to the ordinance in 2007.

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