Thursday, May 12, 2016

Suburban O’Hare Commission Keeps Aviation Experts On

WIth two reports on O’Hare Airport flight operations complete, Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm JDA Aviation Solutions’ contract with the Suburban O’Hare Commission (SOC) is complete.

SOC commissioners approved their intent to enter into a new contract with JDA on Tuesday.

When JDA was initially hired, its contract was for $220,000. Tuesday, SOC chairman and Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson said he could not provide a firm cost of the extended contract as it was still being written. He said a new contract would likely be approved within the next two weeks.

JDA issued an extensive report last fall on flight operations at O’Hare. It made recommendations on everything from flight path trajectories to rotating runways during overnight “Fly Quiet” program hours.

Last Friday, a recommended Chicago Dept. of Aviation Fly Quiet runway rotation plan was approved by the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC) and sent on to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials (see story on page 4A).

That rotation plan could be implemented as early as June if FAA officials approve, Johnson said.

Johnson said the aviation consulting firm would be kept on to monitor the new Fly Quiet runway rotation as it rolls out for two, 12-week trial periods through January. JDA would collect data from the aviation department on a regular basis through the first six months, recommend adjustments as it is implemented and issue a report evaluating the runway rotation program early next year.

JDA has been working on the runway rotation plan alongside Chicago Dept. of Aviation consultants for the last six months, Johnson said.

SOC initially hired JDA to study airport operations in early 2015. Their initial report was released late last year making 20 recommendations for changes in O’Hare flight operations. Earlier this month, JDA released a report analyzing the proposed runway rotation plan’s expected effects on O’Hare noise.

Discussing the runway rotation plan at Tuesday’s Elk Grove Village Board meeting, Johnson said runway rotation will not eliminate airport noise from O’Hare for Elk Grove residents. He said the goal was just to minimize noise.

Johnson, who has waged several political wars with Chicago officials over airport expansion plans and has been strongly critical of both Rahm Emanuel and Richard Daley administration officials, had nothing but praise for new Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans. He said he has had good lines of communication with Evans and said she has been receptive to SOC proposals in a way past aviation commissioners were not.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.journal-topics.com

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