Residents, FAA Agree to Reduce Airport Noise

Residents, FAA Agree to Reduce Airport Noise

Prevailing winds frequently require jets flying out of Oakland International Airport to take to the air on Runway 30 in the South Field. The flight path takes the planes directly over Bay Farm Island and often over the Main Island.

On Oct. 17, Alameda’s Citizens League for Airport Safety and Serenity (CLASS) announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had agreed to move daytime departure flight patterns an estimated 5 to 10 degrees to the west of the present pattern. This would take the planes using Runway 30 out over San Francisco Bay and lessen the noise these aircraft bring to Bay Farm and the Main Island.

The language spelling out the agreement states that the airport wishes to amend the initial heading on departures from Runway 30 to the west “to the maximum practicable extent without negatively impacting the ability to utilize this departure throughout the day.” The airport stated it was doing this “in an effort to mitigate noise impacts to areas adjacent to the departure end of Runway 30.

According to CLASS, the agreement came “five years after filing a letter urging the FAA to take a closer look at flight patterns over Alameda” and “after four years of negotiation and consistent push.” CLASS called the agreement “a huge win.” The change will not be an immediate one, however. It will take effect sometime between mid-October 2022 and April 2023. This change would help reduce noise and air pollution over Bay Farm and Alameda’s Main Island, CLASS stated in its press release.

CLASS was hoping for a shift greater than 5 to 10 degrees and pointed out that FAA’s decision only affects daytime departures on Runway 30 and has no effect on any activity after sunset or at North Field. “We’ll not stop working and negotiating with FAA to address the nighttime departure procedures and other safety and noise abatement measures,” CLASS stated.

The Port of Oakland owns and operates Oakland International Airport. The Port manages the Airport Noise Office to handle environmental noise matters related to airport operations. In addition, the Airport Noise Management Forum is available to provide a way to discuss, analyze and make recommendations to the Port’s Executive Director about noise-related issues at Oakland International Airport.

The Forum provides a mechanism to facilitate cooperation and maintain open lines of communication between the airport and local communities, and includes a broad representation from affected communities, airport users, the FAA, and the Port.

Councilwoman Trish Hererra Spencer chairs the Port’s Noise Forum. Alameda resident Walt Jacobs co-chairs the Forum, which consists of residents and officials from not only the City of Alameda, but from Oakland, Hayward, San Leandro and Richmond, as well as representatives from Alameda County and the Port of Oakland.

CLASS is a nonprofit, community advocacy organization made up of individuals and homeowner association members. They formed the organization to protect the safety, health and welfare of the people living in Alameda and communities near the Oakland Airport. CLASS represents more than 2,800 households on Bay Farm.

Residents can call the noise complaint hotline at 510-563-6463.