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Congresswoman Karen Bass

Representing the 37th District of California

Rep. Bass Addresses Constituent Noise Concerns with Head of LAX After October 7th Quiet Skies Meeting

October 17, 2017
Press Release
LOS ANGELES – Today, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) took action in response to strong complaints about airplane noise, addressing the issue with Ms. Deborah Flint, CEO of the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) which operates Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The letter below came as a result of a community meeting in early October, at which residents made passionate pleas for help with noise that has disrupted their lives and disturbed their sleep.

The October 7, 2017 meeting was attended by hundreds of constituents, who have been surprised and upset by newly-concentrated flight paths that have created a “freeway in the sky” which tracks over Culver City, West Adams and Jefferson Park. 

 Rep. Bass convened state and local leaders, including Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson and City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson; State Senator Holly Mitchell; Culver City officials including Councilmember Jim Clarke, and City Attorney Carol Schwab; and the Chair of LAX Community Noise Round Table, Denny Schneider.  The meeting also included participation by staff members of other federal elected officials, including representatives from the offices of Senator Diane Feinstein, Senator Kamala Harris, Congressmember Ted Lieu, Councilmember Mike Bonin. 

Experts and officials from LAWA addressed audience questions and took note of the public comments, and all of the officials and representatives present expressed their intention to work together at all levels to find solutions to the problems described by the audience. 

You can read the full letter here or below.

October 17, 2017

Deborah Flint
Chief Executive Officer
Los Angeles World Airports
1 World Way
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Dear Ms. Flint,

Thank you for sending members of the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) staff to my Quiet Skies meeting on Saturday, October 7, 2017. They played an important part in helping my constituents understand the changes in flight paths and other challenges at LAX.

As you and I discussed recently, and as your staff witnessed at the meeting, my office has received a significant spike in complaints about airplane noise, especially since the final implementation of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) NextGen project in the Southern California Metroplex on April 27. I am particularly concerned about the North Downwind Arrival flight procedure, part of the newly-concentrated “freeway in the sky” which tracks over Culver City, West Adams and Jefferson Park in my district.

I appreciate that LAWA has worked to be a good neighbor for many years, though it will always be limited in options for action given stringent FAA regulations about every aspect of airplane movement. Nonetheless, LAWA works to facilitate communication between the community and the FAA, especially related to noise. First, LAWA collects noise complaints via phone, website, mail and other means, and communicates those problems directly to the FAA. Recently, to make it easier for the public to register problems, LAWA has created and promoted a mobile app for noise complaints.

Second, LAWA has hosted the LAX Community Noise Roundtable for many years, and I know that some of the progress on addressing community concerns has been assisted by having that organized venue for community input and action. LAWA has also invested in significant analysis of FAA data to help the Roundtable and other community advocates to identify problems from low-altitude flights, and from the concentration of flight paths since implementation of the Metroplex project. LAWA analyses help the Roundtable members and the public to understand critical data. As a result of LAWA analysis on the North Downwind Arrival, for example, we know that as many as 67% of flights in some months since April have flown below the published 6,000 foot altitude.

While I understand that the FAA has exclusive responsibility for controlling how, when and where aircraft fly and land, I appreciate that you are willing to work to do all you can to reduce noise impacts wherever possible. Your staff has had productive discussions with my office, in which they identified key areas that may yield some relief, especially from noise during the nighttime. Night noise and resulting sleep disruptions have serious effects. I understand that, out of concern for these issues, it is LAX policy to both take off and land over the ocean between the hours of midnight and 6:30 am. While deviating from these “Over Ocean Operations” (OOO) is sometimes necessary for reasons related to weather, maintenance, upgrades and/or construction, deviations mean that aircraft operate over homes during these crucial late night hours. As we discussed, I appreciate that you are working to reduce the need for deviation from OOO.

I look forward to staying in direct touch with you about these important issues, and to learning from you of any ways in which I or my office can assist you and your staff in achieving these goals.


Karen Bass
Member of Congress