[Editor’s Note: The following article was submitted by Floral Park Village Trustee and Aircraft Safety & Noise Abatement Officer Mary-Grace Tomecki.]
This week, the Federal Aviation Administration is slated to begin implementing the final steps of a plan that will redesign the airspace utilized by airports located in the New York Metropolitan Area, including Kennedy International, LaGuardia, Teterboro, Newark and Philadelphia Airports. Despite its controversy, the Airspace Redesign Plan, also known as the Integrated Airspace Alternative Variation with Integrated Control Complex (ICC), seeks to minimize delays at area airports by making more efficient use of the airspace. More than four years ago, on April 23, 2007, I attended scoping hearings, along with members of the Floral Park Noise Abatement Committee, sponsored by the FAA at the LaGuardia Airport Marriott Hotel. The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the implications of the Airspace Redesign Plan on neighboring residential communities. During the hearings, it was brought to our attention that the plan allowed for a departure route over Western Nassau. Nevertheless, at that time and through continued research, it was also demonstrated that planes utilizing this route would be flying at approximately 10,000 feet or even higher over residential communities and consequently, would be effectively out-of-earshot to homeowners on the ground. As the FAA did not anticipate any change to noise levels generated by the increase in air traffic, no efforts were planned to mitigate noise.
In this vein, it is important to note that, for better or worse, the addition of this avenue of departing airlines will also have no impact on the current volume or duration of planes arriving onto Runways 22L and 22R. In fact, one of the frustrating elements of the Airspace Redesign Plan for villages such as Floral Park is that it failed to abate noise generated by existing paths of traffic. From my understanding, the Plan was set in motion with the intent of addressing anticipated problems resulting from potential increases in demand for the airline and cargo industry, not existing problems pertaining to noise abatement.