Guest commentary: Jet noise reduction proposal will need public help

A flight departs San Diego International Airport.
A flight departs San Diego International Airport.

Happy Thanksgiving season to all and we hope this finds you well. This is our Quiet Skies update for November. We are actively engaged with the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority on potential noise reduction efforts and we are hopeful for a positive step forward in December.

The Airport Authority is considering several flight operation proposals that could disperse and reduce jet noise for all communities and be especially helpful between 10 and 11:30 p.m. for the northern coastal communities.

In July, Quiet Skies submitted a flight operation proposal in the Part 150 Study from our expert consulting firm. The proposal, now called “Three SIDs with Dispersal,” calls for three departure tracks from the usual western runway at San Diego International Airport. Each track in our proposal also has a new proposed waypoint further offshore, marking the course planes fly before they can begin left and right turns. The result would keep planes farther from our coastline.

In general, eastbound flights would remain on the southernmost track, flights to Hawaii and Asia would be on the middle track and northbound flights would be on the northernmost track. The departure paths would equitably distribute noise among Point Loma, Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla across all hours. Currently, all nighttime departures between 10 and 11:30 are routed north from the airport and fly past the Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla coast. The proposal’s benefits to the coastal communities would be substantial. For La Jolla, it would keep northbound flights about one mile farther offshore compared with their present track.

At the October Citizen Advisory Council and Technical Advisory Council meeting, the airport’s consultants indicated their intention to reject our proposal on a technical ground but also agreed to model a variation. In early November, we filed additional comments explaining why the consultants’ technical ground for initially rejecting our proposal is wrong. Our comments can be found at and relate to counting the net number of new people and households within the 65-decibel contour directly around the airport.

We are hopeful that the consultants advance at least several of the community’s proposals to the Airport Authority at the next meeting in mid-December for consideration by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Our Airport Noise Advisory Committee representative, Dr. Matthew Price, also has formally requested that the Airport Authority ask the FAA to place a new noise dot adjacent to La Jolla to prevent the overflights that have been plaguing La Jolla over the past year. The FAA has been sending eastbound flights directly over La Jolla rather than adhering to the departure path over the ocean and south around the tip of Point Loma. This is subjecting La Jolla to low-flying planes directly over our homes, parks, schools, businesses and places of worship.

Your feedback and written comments will be extremely important on all these issues in late December and early January, so please watch PB Monthly for the next update and details for how to submit a comment. The Airport Authority needs to hear your voice.

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Anthony Stiegler is co-founder and secretary of Quiet Skies La Jolla.