A bill moving through the U.S. Congress to allow Bob Hope Airport to change its voluntary curfew to a mandatory one is supported by the airfield and the city of Burbank, but it could present a tricky situation for UPS and FedEx, which rely on early-morning arrivals.
Back in May, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), along with Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), reintroduced the Valley-Wide Noise Relief Act, which would give Bob Hope and Van Nuys airports the authority to prohibit flights after 10 p.m. and before 7 a.m.
The measure had failed to pass during the last legislative session.
Commercial airlines at Bob Hope generally adhere to those hours. However, cargo carriers arrive earlier to begin processing deliveries for the day.
Currently, FedEx lands two flights each weekday, one at approximately 4:15 a.m. and another 5:40 a.m., with both departing at 7 p.m., according to airport spokesman Victor Gill.
UPS flies two planes into Burbank daily during the week — one at 4:30 a.m., which would be affected be a curfew, and the other at 4:30 p.m., which would not. The early arriving plane and the previous day's afternoon arrival depart at 7 a.m., Gill added.
Mike Mangeot, a UPS spokesman, said the company works hard to be a good neighbor in Burbank, with a fleet that meets the strictest noise standards set by the Federal Aviation Administration
"I will say that that flight offers a valuable service to the Burbank community," he said. "It conveys thousands of packages every day that people depend on for quality of life, economic well-being and even their health."
Mangeot said that unless the legislation becomes law, he wouldn't speculate as to how UPS would change its operations in response to a mandatory curfew.
Schiff said Tuesday that he is hoping to meet with the chair of the House Transportation Committee to discuss the bill, and is looking to attach it to larger legislation — such as the FAA's next reauthorization bill.
The airport, in addition to charging the cargo carriers rent for the facilities they operate on its grounds, also receives landing fees from the flights.
The airport charges $1.56 per 1,000 pounds of landed weight on each flight, Gill said. In May, FedEx landed 40 planes, totaling roughly 12.3 million pounds of cargo – which works out to $19,248 in landing fees for the airport.
Scott Fiedler, spokesman for FedEx, said that if the curfew becomes law, the company will deal with it, but he wouldn't say if the company would consider leaving the airport if that happens.
"We have over 40 years of contingency planning… we will comply with the law," he said. "It's something where we just don't go into the hypotheticals."