State Senator Tony Avella and Assemblyman Ed Braunstein were joined by about 40 residents in Bayside last week to protest the changes, which they say is causing noise and air pollution.
“What the hell is going on here?” asked Avella. “It has been unbearable and you can’t even have a conversation. We never had this airport noise before.”
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told elected officials and residents that it was currently in the middle of a six-month test of new flight patterns in and out of the airport, and will review public comments before making a final decision.
In a statement, the FAA said that is was evaluating a “NextGen” procedure for Runway 13 at LaGuardia, and that the flight pattern follows an existing departure path over Queens.
“The FAA evaluation will identify the potential benefits and impacts of the NextGen procedure,” said an FAA spokesperson. “It also will indicate if additional environmental analysis is necessary before the agency decides whether to permanently implement the procedure."
But beyond that, the FAA has offered little information about the tests, never notified any local officials or community groups that new flight patterns would be in effect, or given any indication where the public can comment.
“Where was the public notification?” said Avella. “And how do we plug into this so-called public comment period?”
Avella and Braunstein are calling on the FAA to meet with the public.
“We want to know who we can bring our grievances to,” said Braunstein.
Avella said there are ways to fly in and out of LaGuardia Airport that minimizes noise on residential neighborhoods, such as the flight patterns that have been used in the past.
“The people in Queens have to deal with two airports,” said Avella. “We are taking the responsibility for the entire city of New York. We deserve a little consideration. Scratch that, we deserve a lot of consideration.”
Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, said he has been bombarded with phone calls from people wondering what is the cause behind the recent noise from airplanes.
“This has totally disrupted life in northeast Queens,” said Schreiber.