FAA flight changes at Louisville airport could reduce neighborhood noise
The Federal Aviation Administration is recommending new ways for planes to fly in and out of Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. The proposal aims to help reduce aircraft noise impacting nearby communities.
The FAA hosted two virtual public workshops last week showing modified departure and arrival procedures at Louisville’s international airport, one of the busiest in the world based on air cargo traffic.
It’s part of an agency initiative to make flights nationwide safer and more efficient by updating satellite-based routing methods.
The proposal adjusts aircraft routes for northbound and southbound departures and arrivals, day and night.
In the public workshops, the FAA said the changes would better keep planes at safe distances from each other, reduce flight delays and cut carbon emissions.
Christian Cobler, an air traffic control specialist at the airport, said the changes were proactive during one of the meetings.
“This airport is becoming bigger, which is one of the reasons that this became such an important thing for us… to kind of futureproof the operations as we go,” Cobler said.
Residents can submit comments on the proposal online or by mail until Dec. 22. An FAA spokesperson said the agency looks to implement changes by next summer.
The modifications could also alleviate noise in neighborhoods near the airport. During the workshops, the FAA said implementing faster ascents and smoother descents could reduce loud sound.
Natalie Chaudoin is the public relations director for the Louisville Regional Airport Authority, which owns and operates the airport. She said while her group doesn’t control the airspace, she recommends residents with complaints or inquiries about sounds, including unusual ones, contact the authority’s noise officer.
“They can reach out to us and we can help them understand why it happened,” Chaudoin said.
The authority also operates the QuieterHome Program, which offers sound insulation improvements to residents living in eligible areas along Preston Highway and Shelby Street. Chaudoin said the program, largely funded through the FAA, tries to make improvements on 90 households each year.
“There has been a little bit of a delay getting product to an extent,” said Chaudoin, referencing supply-chain issues caused by the pandemic.
“It's getting much better, but there was a delay,” she said.
Mary Rose Evans qualified for sound-buffering improvements through the program about a decade ago. She lives in the independent city of Parkway Village, where she was formerly mayor and a commissioner, and has been a leading voice in efforts to mitigate Louisville’s aircraft noise.
When airport expansion finished in the ‘90s, the sounds over Evans’ house became difficult to manage, especially while homeschooling her children.
“It was just very loud, we'd have to stop talking in our living room. Stop whatever class we were doing,” she said.
She helped found the Airport Neighbors’ Alliance in 1996 and recently finished serving 20 years on the airport authority’s board of directors, in a role carved out for resident representation.
Evans said she was able to help establish the QuieterHome Program.
“We have a good relationship with the airport now. I feel like that they can be honest with us, and we can be honest with them,” Evans said.