Long Island residents who for years have complained about the noise of planes flying low into Kennedy Airport can expect some relief with the adoption of new air traffic regulations, lawmakers said Monday.
The Federal Aviation Administration last month began requiring aircraft arriving at a pair of parallel JFK runways to maintain at least 3,000 feet of altitude when possible until they get within 15 miles of the airport. That's well above the 1,800 feet at which some planes used to cruise over Long Island on their way to the Queens airport, tormenting residents along the flight path, Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) said Monday.
"For years, aircraft noise has been crushing our neighborhoods across Nassau County," said Suozzi, who, along with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), pushed the FAA to adopt the changes. "Many of the folks who have experienced some of the worst noise don’t even live particularly close to the airports."
Two Long Islanders who've spent years living with the house-rattling sounds of 737s descending toward JFK expressed skepticism Monday that the new policy will help cut down the noise.
"I'm not impressed," said Steve Kirschman, a Roslyn civic leader who said low-flying planes rumble over his home sometimes as often as once an hour.
The airport had more than 30,000 flights a month in 2019, according to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey records.
Kirschman said plane racket has gotten worse over the past five to 10 years. He said he believes relief will only truly come if the flight path to JFK is rerouted away form his community and over the Atlantic Ocean.
Suozzi, a vice chair of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus, and Schumer said in a joint news release that they have received thousands of complaints from residents about the issue.
"The FAA has finally heeded our call and the cries of neighbors by agreeing to implement this new plan," Schumer said.
The policy change will keep planes approaching the two parallel airstrips of JFK's Runway 22 at the highest possible altitude until they need to begin their descent, according to a statement released Monday by the FAA.
"This effort is part of the agency’s ongoing partnership with airport roundtables, community representatives, airport authorities, airlines and elected officials to find ways to reduce aviation noise and still maintain the highest level of safety," the statement read.
While the change only applies to Runway 22 at JFK, the agency is also considering new measures to mitigate plane noise around other airports in the New York City metropolitan region.
Judi Winters, who spent years advocating for the FAA to address the JFK issue, said things could quiet down if more airlines upgrade to newer, quieter planes. She said flights passing over her East Hills home sound like "a tractor coming through your bedroom."
As for whether the new policy around JFK will help the situation, Winters has her doubts.
"I don't think that'll make any bit of difference," she said. But, "I have some hope."