Area legislators met with Federal Aviation Administration officials on Jan. 18 to express ongoing concerns over plane noise resulting from new flight patterns over the borough. They left empty-handed but promised to continue fighting.
Congressional reps Steve Israel (D-LI) and Grace Meng (D-Bayside), state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) relayed community concerns over new flight patterns into and out of LaGuardia Airport that have increased the number of planes flying over Northeast Queens.
The flight paths were initially given a six-month test run and then permanently implemented last fall, to the chagrin of community leaders and legislators who say the new pattern has diminished their quality of life.
“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 elected officials said in a joint statement. “We will continue to fight for an open process that involves additional options and put pressure on the FAA to pursue those alternatives which include vital community feedback.”
Previous routes had planes leaving LaGuardia Airport often making what was termed the “Coney Climb,” a loop that sent them over Flushing Meadows Corona Park then cutting a diagonal line southwest across the borough before leaving city airspace at Coney Island.
The route was often unused due to increased traffic at JFK Airport.
The new outbound flight paths include turning east over Kew Gardens, then north over Flushing and Bayside, leading to the increased noise complaints.
The FAA has stated in the past the new routes are here to stay.
“After the six-month evaluation, the FAA conducted an environmental review according to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act,” the agency wrote in a letter to Queens legislators in December. “Following the review, the FAA approved the procedure for use when JFK is operating under other runway configurations. We are working to determine the best way to implement the use of this procedure with these other runway configurations.”