Boro leaders fight flight noise at FAA meeting

A plane prepares to land at LaGuardia Airport in northeast Queens.
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Lawmakers from northeast Queens met with the Federal Aviation Administration last week and issued a joint statement Tuesday citing progress in their talks to address flight noise in the area.

Last Friday, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) joined state Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) and U.S. Reps. Steve Israel (D-Hauppauge) and Grace Meng (D-Bayside) at the FAA’s regional office in Queens to address rising concerns over airplane noise in neighborhoods like Bayside, Douglaston and Whitestone.

Since the middle of last year, the agency has been testing out a new satellite navigation system on a departure path that runs over Whitestone and Bayside, according to one FAA spokesman.

As the sounds of planes flying overhead began to disturb homeowners throughout the region, both Avella and Braunstein said they reached out to the FAA and said the agency assured them they would solicit public comment before any decisions were made.

But the FAA did not follow through on that promise, they said.

The FAA did not return calls for comment. The elected officials released a statement Tuesday acknowledging the agency had met with them as they pushed toward a resolution.

“With today’s meeting with the FAA, we took a step forward in addressing the significant quality of life issue that was created by the FAA’s new flight procedures at LaGuardia Airport, which have resulted in extreme increases in aircraft noise in northeastern Queens,” the lawmakers said. “We will continue to fight for an open process that involves additional options and puts pressure on the FAA to pursue those alternatives, which include vital community feedback.”

Earlier this month, members of Community Board 11 vowed to continue their push against the FAA changing its departure and arrival paths because of the rise in air and noise pollution affecting their area, which spans from East Flushing through Little Neck. Their biggest gripe with the agency, members said, was the fact that public input was not being considered in the decision-making process.

Board member Janet McEneany has been one of the more vocal community advocates on behalf of northeast Queens’ battle with the FAA flight noise and organized her own coalition of concerned residents late last year. At CB 11’s January meeting, McEneany said she and her neighbors were only beginning their campaign for more community input in the FAA’s plans.

Last month, Avella said he had met with the Port Authority, which oversees the region’s three airports, to discuss legislation he had proposed that would require the bi-state agency to conduct noise and land use compatibility surveys and public hearings on aircraft noise.

That meeting prompted last week’s follow-up, in which elected officials from both the state and federal levels worked to continue the conversation with the agency.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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