If you’ve noticed more planes flying over Northeast Queens, you’re not going crazy — and you probably should get used to them.
The Federal Aviation Administration this year had implemented a six-month-long evaluation of new flight patterns into and out of LaGuardia Airport, whichs led to more planes flying over Northern Queens neighborhoods like Astoria, College Point, Flushing and Bayside.
Now, the FAA has decided to permanently implement the changes, stating that the evaluation showed they worked and are necessary to prevent conflicts with new flight patterns from JFK Airport.
“After the six-month evaluation, the FAA conducted an environmental review according to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act,” the FAA wrote in a letter to local legislators. “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.”
Previously, outbound flights from LaGuardia would sometimes make the “Coney Climb,” in which planes taking off would fly over Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Kew Gardens, Ozone Park and Brooklyn, exiting the city airspace near Coney Island.
But due to increased traffic out of JFK Airport, LaGuardia flights have scarcely used that route, instead staying over Northern Queens. Outbound flights on Runway 13 now turn east over Kew Gardens and then north over Flushing and Bayside. Inbound flights have used patterns that often take landing planes low over Middle Village, Forest Hills, Ridgewood, Woodside and Jackson Heights.
That does not sit well with state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside).
“Frankly, it is a disgrace the FAA has decided to go ahead with these departure changes, which will have a profound effect on the residents in northeastern Queens, without the proper input from the community,” Avella said. “My office continues to hear from homeowners who are irate at this abrupt increase in air traffic over their homes, which is causing an intolerable amount of noise pollution. Any new flight patterns need to be properly evaluated to determine the impact on the quality of life for residents. In this case, the FAA has decided to disregard the voice of the people, and as a result, another rally is necessary to ensure that FAA finally listens to the concerns of residents.”
Avella will hold a rally in opposition to the FAA’s decision on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 11 a.m. in front of his Senate District Office at 38-50 Bell Blvd. He said he wants the new flight patterns more thoroughly vetted and wants to make sure the FAA knows how opposed to the plans his constituents remain.
Avella’s concerns about LaGuardia are echoed in the southern part of the borough where those living in the flight paths to JFK Airport expressed their anger and concerns to the FAA at a meeting Tuesday night in Springfield Gardens concerning air traffic into and out of that airport.