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Project Experience: Van Nuys Airport, California

The Challenge

In 2005, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) retained HMMH to conduct a precedent-setting study at Van Nuys Airport (VNY) under Federal Aviation Regulation Part 161, “Notice and Approval of Noise and Access Restrictions.”  The VNY Part 161 is the first to simultaneously address multiple restrictions (a total of nine), several of which would limit noisier aircraft operations.

In July 2006, the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners directed LAWA staff and HMMH to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), for a seven-year phaseout of noisier aircraft under a Part 161 provision that exempts (“grandfathers”) rules proposed before October 2, 1990. 

The Solution

In March 2009, LAWA released the final EIR for public review and the FAA notified LAWA in writing that a version of the phaseout that exempted Stage 3 and 4 aircraft would be grandfathered, since it was based on a June 1990 Board resolution initiating the phaseout proposal. On May 4, 2009, the Board approved this version of the phaseout (which was an EIR alternative) and recommended the Los Angeles City Council take steps necessary to adopt the phaseout as a City ordinance.

The phaseout will complement LAWA’s other diverse and innovative noise abatement and mitigation initiatives at VNY, and represent the first new airport use restriction in the U.S. since HMMH assisted Naples (Florida) Municipal Airport to ban Stage 2 aircraft operations in November 2000.