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Group: LaGuardia takeoff noise increase ‘unprecedented’

Brian Will, vice president of Queens Quiet Skies,

Brian Will, vice president of Queens Quiet Skies, listens to state Sen. Tony Avella on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, at a news conference in Bayside on an increase in noise from planes leaving LaGuardia. Credit: Uli Seit

The number of planes taking off from LaGuardia Airport directly over Flushing, Bayside and other neighborhoods in northeast Queens, and the amount of noise from aircraft, have increased sharply in recent years, a state official and community activists said Tuesday.

State Sen. Tony Avella and Queens Quiet Skies said at a news conference in his Bayside office that documents obtained from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey showed departures going east over those neighborhoods increased to 93,075 in 2014 from 62,578 in 2010.

Departures going west from the airport and over the East River and Rikers Island dropped to 50,617 in 2014 from 57,259 in 2010, according Brian Will, vice president of Queens Quiet Skies, who said he compiled numbers from data provided by the Port Authority under the Freedom of Information Law.

The agency, which operates the airport but not its flight operations, did not dispute the numbers. It said, however, landings and departures were affected by “a variety of factors, including wind, weather, mandated runway maintenance and safety.”

The Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates flight operations, said it was unable to comment because it “cannot verify the methodology used or the accuracy of the data and its conclusions.”

The Quiet Skies analysis also showed that departures taking off from another runway and heading south over Jackson Heights and north-central Queens decreased to 51,739 in 2014, from 65,828 in 2010.

The smaller number of flights taking off and heading north over the southeast Bronx increased to 2,515 in 2014, from 1,426 in 2010, the group said.

While the statistics dealt only with departures, Avella and the community group said it was clear that more flights meant more noise.

“Airplane noise has increased at an unprecedented levels over the past decade as a result of changes to runway usage and flight patterns over the last several years,” said Avella, a Democrat.

Avella said the flight patterns had nothing to do with the current renovations of the airport, which has snarled ground traffic. He said he supported the reconstruction program, which was pushed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

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