2000-07-01 / Front Page

Dear Targets Flight Expansion

Sponsors Bill To Give City More Say

From Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways to Flushing, Elmhurst, and Astoria, aircraft-related noise and pollution adversely affect the quality of life and condition of health.

Councilman Noach Dear, chairman of the Committee on Transportation, introduced landmark legislation regarding airport expansion and flight increases in a hearing on Thursday, June 29 at City Hall. The hearing and legislation come soon after Congress’ move to increase flights at John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia Airports.

The legislation introduced by Dear uses lease agreements and mandates noise, air pollution, and traffic studies in order to avoid issues of federal preemption, while effectively bringing the city a measure of control over airport expansion and increases in flights.

"For the hundreds and thousands of New Yorkers living near the airports in Queens and throughout the city, this is an issue, which has a constant impact upon their lives," Dear explained.

Partially in response to the passage by Congress of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21 Century (AIR-21), Dear is leading the effort to protect New Yorkers from airport-related noise and pollution. AIR-21 recently began to phase out the "slots" or High Density Rule (HDR), which had until now limited flights servicing John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia Airports. As a result, there are many new flights being phased in at LGA and JFK.

There are slightly more flights being phased in at LaGuardia to begin with because one of the immediate slots exemptions resulting from AIR-21 is for regional jets which are more common at the regional airport. However, the other immediately phased out rule is the prevention of new slots.

As a result, airlines that have less then 20 flights can now institute up to 20 flights quota. There are no size restrictions on these aircrafts, so it could be 747’s or other loud planes. This is very relevant to the potential for new flights at JFK. There have been applications for both exemptions at both LGA and JFK.

LaGuardia can only accommodate 50 new flights but John F. Kennedy International does not have any natural limits, because there is room for expansion. In that respect, the councilman’s legislation is most effective at helping JFK area residents since it prevents new flights by attacking physical expansion, such as building new terminals or runways.

Dear intends to lead the Council and the City of New York in the effort to improve the "intolerable situation" surrounding airport-related noise and pollution.

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