Joined by several elected officials at LaGuardia Airport last week, Congressman Joe Crowley announced a bill the Silent Skies Act, a bill that would call on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to issue regulations by the end of 2015 requiring commercial airplanes to meet stage 4 noise standards, which is a reduction of sound by 10 decibels from stage 3.
This bill will also push to have newer commercial planes with quieter engines replace the older models that are still being flown.
In 2006, the FAA issued regulations that required all new commercial airplanes to be designed to meet the stage 4 noise standards, however the older models are still flying over Queens.
“Airports can never be perfect neighbors, but we can take steps to make them better neighbors,” said Crowley. “The Silent Skies Act will help achieve that goal by requiring airlines to be stocking their fleets with newer, quieter aircraft.”
According to Crowley, the legislation would require airlines phase in the quieter engines at a rate of 25 percent of its fleet every five years. That would mean that all commercial fleets would meet the stage 4 standards by 2035 at the latest.
“Recent changes in flight procedures have caused constant intolerable noise in wide areas of our New York and New Jersey metro area,” said Janet McEneany president of Queens Quiet Skies. “With this proposed legislation, Rep. Crowley is telling members of the airline industry that we expect them to take their share of responsibility to fix the problems caused by those new flight procedures.”
Looking to the future, McEneany views this proposal as a positive step, no matter the outcome.
“Whether this is the end of the line I couldn’t tell you,” she said. “ But this is a very good initiative and Queens Quiet Skies fully supports it.”
The bill is co-sponsored by Queens congress members Gregory Meeks and Grace Meng. Crowley said he is not sure if the bill will be supported by Republicans, however he is confident that the Silent Skies Act will pass the House.
The bill would also encourage research and development of quieter engine technologies. Currently, there is no federal funding dedicated to the development of quieter engines for commercial airplanes.
“Airplane noise continues to ruin the quality of lie in Queens,” said Meng. “It is imperative that we do all we can to reduce it, and requiring the airlines to fly quieter aircrafts would go a long way towards achieving that critical goal.”