A late-night United Airlines flight to Chicago was given a one-month reprieve from the new noise standards scheduled to go into effect for jetliner departures from Lindbergh Field beginning Oct. 1.
United asked for the reprieve because the airline said it will be unable to use a new, quieter jet for Flight 362, which departs San Diego at 10:45 p.m. daily, until Oct. 31. The airline has asked for the one-month exemption because of "extenuating business and operating reasons."
"It is the view of United that granting this exemption would permit United and the port to be responsive to the business/pleasure travel and shipping market that has already reserved space on that flight and, at the same time, keep its commitment to the community to address environmental concerns," Alan B. Wayne, United's regional director of public affairs, wrote to commissions in an Aug. 7 letter asking for the exemption.
On July 21, the commissioners, heeding complaints from homeowners around Lindbergh, imposed the Oct. 1 deadline for airlines to switch to new and quieter "Stage 3" jetliners for departures between 10 and 11:30 p.m. At the time, Wayne and other airline officials criticized the move, warning it would prompt air carriers to turn away from Lindbergh.
Stage 3 aircraft include the MD-80 and Boeing 737-300s; The most widely used Stage 2 plane is the Boeing 727.
In his letter, Wayne told commissioners that United had committed to purchasing more than $7 billion in Stage 3 aircraft, including about 100 Boeing 737-300s.
"Given that effort, in particular our voluntary moves to address your concerns, and our record of providing reliable service to San Diego for some 60 years, I am hopeful that you will act favorably on our request," Wayne wrote.
Port commissioners granted the request.