Suozzi takes on FAA for inactivity over noise

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U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi in the village of Old Brookville Monday, announcing new plane height requirements. (Photo by Teri West)

U.S. Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) is calling for answers from the Federal Aviation Administration after measures agreed upon in June to decrease airplane noise in Nassau County were reversed only days later. They have not been carried out since then.

Due to a flight path redirection during construction at John F. Kennedy International Airport, since April residents of Nassau County have seen an increase in aircraft traffic and noise.

Suozzi, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran met with the FAA in May to discuss measures for decreasing the air traffic, according to a news release from Suozzi’s office.

FAA officials agreed to a number of steps, released on June 13, which included requiring all aircraft operating west of Deer Park to fly at or about 4,000 feet, aircraft having to maintain an altitude of 3,000 feet until they are 15 miles from JFK (when certain runways are unaccessible), and that JFK’s air traffic control tower would “rotate usage of operational runways when the weather and workload permit.”

The regulations would have begun on June 24 and remained as standard operating procedure at JFK until April 15, 2020, but six days before the procedures would have taken effect, the FAA reversed its decision. A release from Suozzi’s office said that the FAA said “the new regulations ‘require additional internal evaluation’ and that ‘the FAA will coordinate with stakeholders before it makes any decision to implement them.'”

Suozzi’s office says that efforts to reach the FAA in the three months since then have been unavailing and that the agency “has been noncommittal.”

“It has been more than 90 days since the FAA postponed implementation of already agreed-upon procedures and, despite multiple attempts, I have not gotten a straight answer on when they will be administered,” Suozzi said. “It is finally time for the broken bureaucracy of the FAA to take concrete action that will actually improve the lives of my constituents who are being bombarded and crushed by airplane noise.”

The FAA did not respond to a request for comment.

The JFK construction is expected to last until Nov. 15.

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