Noise curfew rules proposed at Long Beach Airport could mean trouble for JetBlue

JetBlue Airways, the busiest carrier at Long Beach Airport, has violated the city’s noise curfew so often this year that if a proposed noise crackdown is adopted, the New York-based carrier could face being shut out of the airport.

Violations of the city’s noise curfew have increased so much in the past six months that Long Beach Airport officials are proposing a fine increase of up to 3,200% and the authority to boot a carrier that has more than 20 violations in a 24-month period.

JetBlue Airways violated the city’s noise curfew 94 times in the first five months of 2017, far more than any other carrier at the facility. The next closest is Delta Air Lines and its regional carrier Sky West, with three violations combined in the same period.

In a statement, JetBlue blamed many of the violations on “air traffic control related issues at some of the busiest airports on the East Coast and in northern California.”

“JetBlue is working with elected officials to mitigate these instances,” the airline said.

The city imposes noise limits on commercial flights between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

In the first six months of 2017, Long Beach recorded 133 violations of the curfew at the airport, compared to 134 violations for the entire 12 months of 2016, according to city data. The city released individual carriers’ violations for only the five-month period.

The fine for violating the curfew is $100 for the first through third offenses and $300 thereafter. The fine hasn’t been increased since it was adopted in 1995.

In response to the increase in violations, airport officials have asked the Long Beach City Council to consider raising the fine to $2,500 for the first through fifth violations during any 24-month period and increasing it to $3,000 to $10,000 for additional violations in the same period.

Under the proposed new rules, any carrier with more than 20 violations in a 24-month period can have its operating privileges at the airport terminated or limited.

The city first must collect comments from the airlines and the community before changes can be brought to the City Council for a vote, which is expected in the first three months of 2018, according to a city report.

hugo.martin@latimes.com

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