To the Editor:
The City of Alexandria shares the frustration expressed by Mr. Spar in his letter to the editor of April 29 regarding increased aircraft noise from flights out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). I hope the following facts will clarify the city’s role in dealing with aircraft noise.
Cities and counties do not have authority over civilian or military aircraft operations at DCA, and no aircraft operations have been approved by City Council or the city manager. This authority rests solely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which implements legislation passed by Congress and regulates air traffic — including airplane flight paths. Three times since 2000, Congress has increased the number of flights that can arrive at and depart from DCA. Although an operational curfew has never existed at the airport, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) assesses penalties of up to $5,000 per occurrence for airplanes that violate noise limits.
Recognizing that nearby residents have recently experienced increased aircraft noise, MWAA formed a Community Noise Working Group in the fall of 2015. Members representing Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Washington, D.C., meet monthly with MWAA leadership and representatives from the FAA and American Airlines (the largest tenant airline at DCA) to review aircraft landing and departure noise and examine feasible solutions to minimize noise. As part of this group, the city strongly advocates to keep aircraft over the center of Potomac River as long as possible after takeoff and before landing.
The city is working with MWAA to host an informational meeting in Alexandria so the community may learn the details of this complex issue, raise concerns, and ask questions. Meeting information will be announced as soon as it is finalized.
Residents are encouraged to direct noise complaints to MWAA. The following link provides additional background information and a complaint form: www.flyreagan.com/dca/reagan-national-aircraft-noise-information
Mayor, City of Alexandria