San Francisco

Congress Members Seek FAA Action to Address Airport Noise Complaints

San Francisco International Airport and surrounding airports are some of the busiest hubs in the United States, which make the beds of activity some of the noisiest spots in the Bay Area. And neighbors in the surrounding communities are not pleased with the rising decibel levels.

After receiving complaints in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, Reps. Jackie Speier, Anna Eshoo and Jimmy Panetta called for action by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Each of the three Congress members is part of the Quiet Skies Caucus and said in a joint statement they will "hold airlines and airports accountable to reduce aircraft noise."

In response to the request, the FAA announced phase two of an initiative to reduce noise and help communities sleep a little easier at night.

Some of the addressed recommendations included:

  • Improving aircraft set-up and sequencing between facilities
  • Adjustments to OAK and SFO southbound departures
  • Collaborating with the SFO Noise Abatement Office and FAA on outreach to pilots and controllers to keep aircraft over the water while approaching the area
  • Increasing controller awareness to keep departures east of Highway 101
  • Reducing noise at night by working with SFO to update the Fly Quiet program
  • Collaborating with the SFO/Community Roundtable on future changes

Recommendations for the review came from the San Francisco International Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals, and many of the concerns addressed in the report were FAA statements reaffirming a commitment to existing policies and procedures.

Some recommendations that were not approved included shifting arrivals at San Jose International Airport and to modify south arrivals at SFO, because it would affect the noise levels in other communities. 

However, the FAA notes that it is a work in progress. The report includes a review of only about 14 percent of recommendations and an updated version will be released once the other recommendations have been reviewed.

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