Tick tock … tick tock … tick tock. How often do you lay awake in the middle of the night? Counting sheep? Counting airplanes (what?!)?
RYAN: What time of the day does the curfew take effect?
- GARRET: All passenger aircraft operating at SDIA today are Stage 3. That means they meet the most stringent noise levels set in Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 36, which cover aircraft noise standards. For Stage 3 aircraft, there is a departure curfew from 11:30pm to 6:30am. Arrivals are permitted 24 hours a day.
R: Are there any exceptions?
- G: Yes, what we call “life-flights”—when patients or human tissue is being transported, and military flights of necessity. A real-world example is after 9/11, there were doctors flying to New York and Washington, DC, to assist with injuries, and they departed after curfew as a “mercy” flight.
R: How often do the airlines “break” curfew?
- G: About twice a month airlines break curfew. The aircraft operator may be assessed penalties for breaking curfew, based on a six-month period. The review of violations is done by a Curfew Violation Review Panel, consisting of representatives of the Airport Authority’s’ Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Vice President of Planning and Operations and Vice President of Development. There can be exceptions made to the penalties, such as for local weather concerns, air traffic control issues or mechanical problems with the aircraft.
R: Is the curfew legally enforceable?
G: Yes, the curfew at SDIA is legally enforceable. Other airports that have legally enforceable noise restrictions are John Wayne (SNA), Washington National (DCA), Long Beach and San Jose (SJC). In 1990 the Airport Noise Capacity Act (ANCA) was passed, which restricts airports’ ability to enact noise ordinances. SDIA’s curfew was grandfathered in under this law.
R: In the post-ANCA period, what airports have tried to put a curfew in place?
- G: Bob Hope Airport in Burbank (BUR), Los Angeles International (LAX), San Francisco (SFO) and Naples, FL (APF) are all going currently through the FAR Part 161 process to try to enact curfews, but none has been successful to date.
R: As a member of the public, how can I learn more about the curfew or other noise issues?
- G: The best way is to check the airport noise mitigation section of Airport Authority’s website. The Airport Noise Mitigation Department also publishes a periodic Noise Matters newsletter. And you can always call the Noise Complaint Hotline at 619-400-2799.
R: Garret, what are the two most important points you’d like the public to know about the curfew?
G: Simple: SDIA has arrivals 24 hours a day, and departures are mostly allowed only from 6:30am to 11:30pm.
And if you live near the airport and those airplanes at night are still giving you grief, make sure to check out Ambassablogger Sjohnna’s Quieter Home Program, as well. Otherwise, sleep tight … and sweet dreams!