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Public Comment on Aviation Noise

U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) seeks public comment on aviation noise effects and mitigation research portfolio

Public Comment on Aviation Noise
FAA, January 17, 2021 - WASHINGTON – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced plans to seek public comment on the existing noise research portfolio, including the Neighborhood Environmental Survey, and additional areas recommended for investigation.

The notice is available on FAA’s website.

The FAA is sharing information on its aircraft noise research programs that includes a portfolio of research initiatives related to the effects of aviation noise impacts on the public, efforts to mitigate such noise exposure, and research regarding public perception of aviation noise. The public comment period opened today and the notice is published in the Federal Register.

Included in this posting are the results of the Neighborhood Environmental Survey, a multi-year research effort to review and improve FAA’s understanding of community response to noise. The survey included responses from over 10,000 people living near 20 airports across the country, and the results show an increased level of reported annoyance due to aircraft noise in contrast to earlier surveys.

Successfully addressing noise requires continued and increased collaboration among all aviation stakeholders. In this regard, FAA has an important role to play in addressing noise issues, including continuing to improve the understanding of how airport noise impacts communities surrounding our nation’s airports.

As part of FAA’s broader research on aircraft noise, this survey data and the research related to noise abatement will be used to inform FAA’s approach on the relationship between aircraft noise exposure and the well-being of people living near airports and communities served by airports throughout the country.

FAA continues decades-long efforts to work with airport authorities, aircraft manufacturers, airlines, state and local governments, and communities to address noise concerns. FAA also collaborates with airport authorities and community groups to implement noise abatement procedures safely when operationally feasible. Today’s civilian aircraft are quieter than at any time in the history of powered flight, and FAA continues to work with manufacturers and air carriers to reduce noise at the source.

FAA works with local governments to encourage responsible land planning that avoids building residential housing in areas that will be exposed to significant airplane noise. In fact, over the last four decades, the number of Americans exposed to significant aviation noise near airports has been reduced from 7 million to just over 400,000–more than a 94% reduction.

During the same period, the number of annual passengers increased from around 200 million per year to over 900 million per year. This demonstrates a decrease in the number of people exposed to significant noise while showing an increase in the number of passengers travelling in the aviation system.


The Noise Control Act of 1972 (42 U.S.C. 4901 to 4918) established a national policy to promote a healthy, noise-free environment for all Americans. The Act requires coordination of federal research and activities in noise control, authorizes the establishment of federal noise emissions standards for commercial products, and authorizes the dissemination of information to the public regarding the noise characteristics of commercial products. To enforce the NCA, the Office of Noise Abatement and Control was created within EPA. In 1981, the director of ONAC was informed that the Office of Management and Budget, under President Reagan’s order, was eliminating all funding for ONAC—and that the issue was non-negotiable. Congress complied. The Administrative Conference of the United States reports that “of the twenty-eight environmental, health and safety statutes passed between 1958 and 1980, the NCA stands alone in being stripped of budgetary support.” President Reagan stripped ONAC of its funding because of pressure from industries affected by ONAC’s noise regulations. Reagan was committed to deregulating the economy. He also asserted noise pollution was merely a state and local matter. (2010, Noisefree.org) Is ONAC still closed?

  See also

US FAA     Federal Aviation Administration
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