Councilmember Austin Issues Update Regarding Long Beach Airport Flights

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Eighth District Councilmember Al Austin - Photo from Facebook

Eighth District Councilmember Al Austin – Photo from Facebook

The City Manager has called a study session for Tuesday, December 8 to discuss the flight slot allocation at the Long Beach Airport. The latest annual noise budget report required by the Airport Noise Compatibility Ordinance indicates that nine additional daily air carrier flights can be added under the allowable noise limits.

Like many of you, I’m not thrilled about this news, and I have many questions.  However, our first priority as a City must be to protect the City’s Airport Noise Ordinance, one of only a handful of such protections in the country that limits the number of commercial flights at an airport, and ensures a balance with the quality of life in our impacted neighborhoods.

The City Attorney advises me that the additional flight slots are a necessary measure that must be adhered to in order to protect our Airport Noise Ordinance.

This is not a decision that the City Council will be voting on. The City’s Airport Noise Ordinance spells out clearly that the 41 daily flights are the minimum number allowed, and it specifies the process by which additional flights are allowed within the cumulative noise levels.
As the airlines use newer, quieter aircraft, the actual annual noise budget has decreased.

The noise budget calculations indicate that nine additional flight slots can be allowed while staying under the noise budget levels. However, the cumulative noise levels will be revisited in a year, and if it is determined that these flights exceed the noise budget, some or all of these added flights could be reduced.

The City Manager, Airport Director and City Attorney will be presenting the City Council and the public with this information, the noise budget reports and analysis at next Tuesday’s study session. I will certainly be asking many questions to ensure that all of the information is out in the open and the process is fully transparent, and that everything possible is done to protect our neighborhoods.

I encourage you to read the agenda item, and watch next week’s Council meeting to learn more. The study session will take place at 6:00 p.m. during the City Council meeting on December 8.

I will provide an update after the study session with any additional information that becomes available.

I welcome your comments and questions regarding this issue.

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