Last month, Floral Park Trustee Mary-Grace Tomecki, along with Mayor Tom Tweedy and several concerned residents from the Village of Floral Park and her neighboring communities participated in a very special TVASNAC (Town-Village Aircraft Safety Noise Abatement) meeting, as part of its ongoing effort to promote a more equitable distribution of air traffic over Western Nassau. Also in attendance were representatives from Kennedy Tower, TRACON, the New York-New Jersey Port Authority and Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy’s office, providing a rare opportunity for Floral Park to interact simultaneously with the entities that render decisions that impact air traffic noise and safety on a daily basis. As Floral Park is geographically located 7 miles from Kennedy and is directly affected by airplanes utilizing the ILS approach into Runways 22L and 22R, the meeting was a unique discussion with key figures that impact the community’s quality of life.
While several key points were addressed, Trustee Tomecki revealed that what was of particular interest was a better understanding of the role that each agency played in determining air traffic patterns. According to the representatives at the meeting, TRACON, which houses the air traffic controllers, determines the approaches, Kennedy Tower influences runway selection or how frequent the runways are being rotated and the Port Authority, which manages the airport, deals with concerns about noise. Tomecki revealed that “as Floral Park can receive in excess of 48 hours of air traffic, especially during the summer months, understanding which agency is ultimately responsible for certain decisions can be extremely helpful when issuing complaints or seeking answers for concerned residents.”
Additional insights rendered during the meeting concerned recent usage of Runway 22L without the use of Runway 22R. In the past, it was Tomecki’s understanding that 22L ILS was utilized when air traffic arrivals exceeded 35 to 38 per hour and wind conditions were out of the south. Under these circumstances, Floral Park could expect to see and hear approximately 50 to 85 planes per hour and both Runways 22L and 22R would be used to accommodate the arrivals. More specifically, 22L would serve as the main runway and 22R would capture the overflow. In recent months, Floral Park has witnessed the use of 22L without 22R. Representatives of TRACON indicated that there are certain visibility conditions, combined with high volume condition that allow for this configuration, but it is rare. As confirmed by Tomecki, “this configuration most likely will not translate into a noticeable increase in air traffic for Floral Park because it is so infrequently used, but we will continue to monitor air traffic patterns as always.”