Curfew at Bob Hope Airport would burden Van Nuys

June 12, 2008

Banning nighttime traffic from 10 p.m. to 6:59 a.m. at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, Calif., would force more aircraft to fly into Van Nuys Airport, the busiest GA airport in the United States.

On June 10, AOPA wrote to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, expressing its concerns about the impact the curfew would have on Van Nuys.

“Offsetting noise at one airport at the expense of another nearby and adjacent airport community is not acceptable,” AOPA Senior Director of Airports Heidi Williams said, “and should be the basis for an FAA denial of the proposed restrictions.”

AOPA pointed out that the increase in operations at Van Nuys could lead to restrictions there, leaving general aviation pilots no place to go.

The association is also concerned because the nighttime curfew would unfairly discriminate against general aviation. According to FAA analysis, the current voluntary nighttime curfew is highly effective, boasting an almost 97-percent compliance rate.

“The Part 161 study also acknowledges that the costs of the proposed restriction would primarily be a burden on the general aviation community only,” Williams continued.

The airport authority’s proposal would ban all flights during the curfew except for law enforcement and fire fighting, emergency medical flights transporting patients or human organs, and aircraft with declared in-flight emergencies.

Part of the authority’s decision to ban all flights, except for those previously mentioned, during the night stems from the forecast .7-percent growth in operations at the airport annually. AOPA pointed out that the connection between all flight operations and night operations is flawed.

“It is extremely difficult to determine the actual benefit of imposing nighttime restrictions based on forecasted growth for primarily daylight operations,” Williams explained.