February 5, 2020- Washington, DC -- United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), along with Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA-08), Congressman Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA-04), House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Katherine Clark (D-MA-05), and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07) sent letters to three airlines with major operations at Boston Logan International Airport--American Airlines, Delta and Southwest Airlines--urging them to act to reduce airplane-related noise problems that have affected Massachusetts residents and communities across the country.
Since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) introduced the NextGen satellite-based navigation system in 2013, which was meant to create more fuel-efficient flight paths, communities in Massachusetts and throughout the country have experienced increased airplane noise, with the Massachusetts Port Authority and several municipalities seeing a sharp spike in airplane noise complaints.
Last year, Senators Warren and Markey introduced the Senate companion to Congressman Lynch's Air Traffic Noise and Pollution Expert Consensus Act of 2019, a bill to require the FAA to work with the National Academy of Sciences to study the effects of air traffic noise and pollution on human health. Senator Warren and Congressman Lynch are also co-sponsors of the Cleaner, Quieter Airplanes Act, which would make investments in technologies needed to cut airplane noise and reduce carbon pollution from commercial airlines by half.
"As Congress works to address airplane noise, and address the noise pollution that has resulted from FAA's new navigation system, your company can also take steps to alleviate concerns of communities affected by increased airplane noise," the lawmakers wrote in their letters.
The lawmakers noted that several airlines with operations in Boston Logan Airport have voluntarily taken measures to address airplane-related noise problems affecting nearby communities. In October 2018, following a letter the lawmakers sent with other members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, JetBlue announced plans to retrofit its entire Airbus fleet with noise-reducing vortex generators. In their latest letters, the lawmakers asked the airlines to implement similar measures.
"We ask that your company take steps to reduce airplane noise from your fleet and provide information about how your company has worked to mitigate noise-related complaints associated with your airplanes by February 28, 2020," the lawmakers continued.
Senator Warren has been working to ensure airplane-related noise problems affecting communities are addressed:
- In April 2016, Senator Warren introduced legislation, the FAA Community Accountability Act, to give local communities a voice in the FAA's decision-making process for flight paths. The bill was originally introduced in the House by Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), and cosponsored by Congressman Lynch, Congresswoman Clark, and former Congressman Michael Capuano.
- In July 2016, Senators Warren and Markey, former Congressman Capuano, and Congressman Lynch and Congresswoman Clark sent a letter calling on the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on the effects of air traffic noise and pollution on human health, highlighting recent significant spikes in the number of noise complaints logged by the Massachusetts Port Authority, as well as airports around the country.
- In October 2016, Senators Warren and Markey, former Congressman Capuano, and Congressman Lynch sent a letter to the Administrator of the FAA, requesting that the FAA work to increase community participation in the process to address airplane-related noise.
- In November 2016, Senators Warren and Markey, former Congressman Capuano, and Congressman Lynch asked JetBlue to consider the Milton Board of Selectmen's request that the airline retrofit its pre-2014 Airbus A320 series aircraft by installing vortex generators, which are designed to significantly reduce airplane noise. As a result of their letter, JetBlue's decision to retrofit its entire Airbus fleet with noise-reducing vortex generatorsis helping address airplane-related noise problems affecting communities near Logan International Airport and elsewhere.