Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) wants residents living near Bob Hope Airport to be able to get a good night’s sleep, so he has reintroduced legislation to let the airport impose a formal, legally binding curfew on all flight operations.
Schiff, along with Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), reintroduced the Valley-Wide Noise Relief Act this week, which would give Bob Hope and Van Nuys airports the authority to prohibit flights after 10 p.m. and before 7 a.m.
Schiff said Thursday that the legislation, which was first introduced in 2011 but failed to pass, was born out of a desire to rectify what he and Sherman saw as a mistake made by the Federal Aviation Administration in rejecting Bob Hope’s application for a curfew in 2009.
“They went through the process, which costs millions of dollars and took years, and the FAA rejected it perfunctorily,” Schiff said. “We looked at it as if we were righting a wrong or an error that was made.”
Bob Hope Airport already holds commercial passenger flights to an informal, voluntary 10 p.m.-to-7 a.m. curfew. Small, privately owned aircraft and cargo operations are exempt, but they would no longer be if the legislation passes.
Airport spokesman Victor Gill said the airfield was fully behind the effort to instate a formal curfew, which is an outgrowth of a 40-year effort to reduce the noise impact on surrounding areas.
Between March 16 and April 16, there were 122 commercial airline flights outside the voluntary curfew, both arrivals and departures, according to an internal study conducted by the airport.
Gill said those flights are often arriving or departing only a few minutes outside the curfew.
However, cargo flights — of which there were 246 combined arrivals and departures during the study period — are generally more spread out if they arrive or depart outside the curfew as is private air traffic, which had 149 out-of-curfew flights.
Even though the measure won’t impact a significant number of commercial flights, Schiff said that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile.
“Of course, if you’re asleep on the flight path, it only takes one flight to wake you up,” he said.
Although some airlines could offer more service if they were allowed to schedule flights at 6 a.m., in order to make regional connecting flights, Gill said the airport isn’t worried about locking itself out of more business with a curfew.
"[The Airport Authority] already realizes that some flights would like to be here at 6 a.m. and [airlines] already balance that with what they see as their charter with the public to minimize noise,” Gill said.