Saturday, July 15, 2017

Linthicum, Anne Arundel County, Maryland: Residents taking action against NextGen Baltimore–Washington International Airport (KBWI) noise

BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport is the country's 23rd busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic.

In 2015, over 65,000 passengers arrived and departed daily in and out of the airport. In 2014, BWI was the 36th busiest airport in North America for cargo volume with 105,153 metric tons moving through the facility that year.

For Linthicum and surrounding communities, this means a lot of noise. Along with the loud planes flying over their homes, many residents also experience commotion from the airport itself, including airplane engines running noisily for hours at a time.

Unfortunately, the disturbance has become even worse over the past two years due to the airport's implementation of NextGen, a system that has altered flight paths and allows pilots to fly closer to the ground.

Although the NextGen system may save airplane companies money on fuel costs, the resulting noise is causing the deterioration of many Linthicum residents' quality of life, says Suzzie Schuyler, President of the Linthicum Shipley Improvement Association (LSIA).

The Greater Severna Park Noise Committee is also involved with the effort and claims that since the NextGen system's implementation in November 2014, noise complaints have risen by 121 percent from 835 noise complaints in 2014 to 1,849 noise complaints in 2015.

The noise committee is working with elected officials, the Maryland Aviation Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration in addressing the concerns.

In an effort to combat the noise, the LSIA encourages Linthicum community members to file noise complaints with the airport, in the hopes that changes will be made and residents won't have to listen to the loud planes as much.

"We want noise walls placed in the section over where the cargo planes are and the northwest hub where the engines are run for several hours," Schuyler said. "The decibel level for the engines we think needs to be changed, as well as the duration time in which they are allowed to run."

Residents who are affected by the increased noise and altered flight paths are encouraged to visit to fill out the noise complaint form. The LSIA urges members to fill out their complaints online as opposed to calling them in, as the phone line is overwhelmed and so that the complaints are documented.

"The LSIA isn't anti-BWI or anti-aircraft," said Justin Szech, board member of the LSIA. "We just want to get back to where we used to be because we had a good relationship with the airport and want to continue that."

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