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Friday, December 2, 2022
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City to Review Noise Abatement Program at Dallas Love Field


Dallas Love Field | Image by NBC DFW

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Dallas is seeking to overview and adopt improvements to its Voluntary Noise Abatement Program, originally introduced to make Dallas Love Field Airport quieter for surrounding residential neighborhoods.

The City has not reviewed the program for 30 years, according to the Dallas Observer. Despite the noise abatement measures already in place, nearly 3,800 noise complaints were sent to the City about Dallas Love Field in two three-month periods last year.

While Love Field is owned and operated by Dallas, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates all airport operations. This includes flight patterns, hours, minimum flight altitude, and take-off and landing paths.

The City of Dallas currently “cannot ban any specific type or size of aircraft from operating at the airport, based on noise levels,” according to the airport.

Love Field Airport stated noise reduction efforts had been made through various means, including “through the development of quieter engines” for aircraft, a key goal of the FAA.

Aircraft are currently classified by different “stages” of noise. Stage 1 is classified as the loudest, while Stage 3 is classified as the quietest.

In 2013, the FAA banned the use of aircraft with a maximum weight of 75,000 pounds or more from operating in the mainland United States unless the craft met Stage 3 noise levels.

The FAA already has installed the Airport Noise Compatibility Planning or Part 150, a voluntary program designed for airports to reduce noise near airports collaboratively. Part 150 details a number of strategies that airports may employ to reduce noise levels.

These include changing take-off and landing procedures and routing flight paths to less noise-sensitive areas. Further suggested solutions include providing insulation for homes, schools, and other affected buildings.

Perot Field Fort Worth Alliance Airport is one airport that has adopted the voluntary program and began updates to its Part 150 noise strategy in 2019.

In a memo, Dallas Deputy City Manager Kimberly Bizor Tolbert detailed public comments and questions from residents participating in the stakeholder process. The memo revealed that many questions centered around worries that the process of reviewing and potentially changing the noise abatement plan was being “rushed.”

The memo noted that “the Department of Aviation has no plans to rush through a process, and there is no set deadline.”

In response to concerns that decisions would be made after “one meeting to brainstorm ideas following very sparse advance neighborhood engagement,” Tolbert said the City has developed a schedule that will ensure “adequate time [is] spent considering modifications to the existing Voluntary Noise Program.”

Tolbert added the City would conduct additional meetings if they are “needed to reach consensus on recommendations from the stakeholder group.” Any proposed changes will be passed to the city council.

“It is important to note that this engagement extends to all those affected, not just the neighborhoods that surround Dallas Love Field,” the memo said.

Because development “continues to encroach on the airport,” the memo explained, the City must seek to balance the needs of the residents living near the airport with “the economic impact of having a convenient airport with over 40 non-stop destinations that drive much of the City’s economic vibrancy.”

Dallas Love Field supports over 10,000 jobs and has a $2.5 billion impact on the City of Dallas.

The memo reiterated the City’s commitment to participating in sufficient discourse with the community before making changes to the program.

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