Thursday, March 29, 2012

FAA tells Columbus airport not to reduce hours

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WTW) — The Federal Aviation Administration has told the city of Columbus it cannot reduce operating hours at Columbus Municipal Airport without further study, so some nearby residents will have to continue to live with nighttime flights and window-rattling noise.

Jack Delaney, acting manager of the FAA's Chicago Airports District Office said in an email to airport Manager Rod Blasdel that the city must evaluate noise and economic impact before the agency considers any change to operating hours. Such a study would take months and could be costly for the airport.

A recent increase in flight operations, especially at night, had prompted 50 complaints to the mayor's office or the city's website, The Republic reported Wednesday ( ).

The increase in flight traffic resulted from increased demand for auto parts made by NTN Driveshaft, which flies products across the country.

The FAA requires an impact study because changes at the Columbus airport could significantly affect commerce and traffic at other airports, said Tony Molinaro, spokesman for the Great Lakes Region of the FAA.

He said he was not aware of any airports with nighttime flight restrictions in the Great Lakes Region.
One person living near the airport, Patrick Pierz, said he understood the city's hands were tied in the short-term. He hopes for an eventual ban on flights between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

In the meantime, he has found a way to avoid being awakened at 3 a.m. by flight noise.
"We're sleeping in the basement," he said.

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