Hollywood Burbank Airport will ask FAA to change flight paths in order to reduce noise

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority is asking the Federal Aviation Administration to use different flight paths for departures out of Hollywood Burbank Airport.

Authority members voted 8 to 0 on Monday to approve a resolution as a way to provide relief for Studio City residents and those who live in the south San Fernando Valley who say they have been bombarded with aircraft noise for the last two years. Zareh Sinanyan, the authority’s president who has taken a position with the Armenian government, was absent from the meeting.

According to a report compiled by the consulting firm Landrum & Brown in October, flights out of Hollywood Burbank have been shifting toward the south, from over the 101 Freeway to above Studio City and Sherman Oaks.


Airport Commissioner Terry Tornek, who represents Pasadena, said the authority has been accused of standing idly by and not doing anything to address the airplanes departing from Hollywood Burbank and making their turns to go northbound above those Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Residents of those communities are blaming the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System, known as NextGen, for the increase in planes flying over their homes.

However, the Landrum & Brown study could not definitively pin the issue on NextGen, a system the federal agency uses to make air travel more efficient and safe.

Tornek, the mayor of Pasadena, said rather than continue trying to find the source of the noise issues and how they came about, the resolution is necessary to officially let the FAA know the flight paths need to be changed.

“The attempt of this resolution is to lay out what the mission of the airport is and what the history of the airport has been in terms of trying to be a good neighbor and mitigate noise issues through the years, including the millions of dollars we spent on a futile effort to convert the voluntary curfew into a mandatory curfew,” Tornek said.

“It seemed to me that we should go on record in terms of urging the FAA, which is the operative authority here, to implement alternative dispersal headings for flights departing the airport in order to achieve an equitable distribution of impacts on affected communities.”

The resolution also asks the federal agency to space out the frequency of each departing flight from Hollywood Burbank.

Though the resolution is aimed at trying to alleviate the noise issues, Tornek said people should not expect changes right away.

He said the authority is still pushing forward with monthly forum discussions it plans to have with FAA representatives, during which local airport officials hope to develop an alternative departure route from Hollywood Burbank.

Federal representatives are looking to find out the exact cause of the increase in aircraft noise over neighborhoods.

On Tuesday, Reps. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), Brad Sherman (D-Northridge) and 27 other members of Congress sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office to investigate how the FAA has handled the noise concerns raised by people across the country during the implementation of NextGen, according to a statement.

The letter asks the office several questions, including how the FAA considers noise impacts, whether it measures and discloses noise impacts and how it incorporates public input when planning and implementing NextGen.

Though the airport authority’s resolution is meant to be another step toward finding relief for Los Angeles residents, some said Monday that it wasn’t enough.

Studio City resident Kim Biddle, a member of a group called UproarLA, said other airports, such as neighboring Van Nuys Airport, have implemented noise abatement policies. She said she thinks Hollywood Burbank should take more immediate action.

“We do not need to hear or focus on what cannot be done,” she said. “We want to hear what else you and Burbank [airport] staff have done and will do now.”

Carpio writes for Times Community News.