Because of Logan's proximity to residential communities throughout the Greater Boston Metropolitan area, Massport has been working to minimize the impacts of noise on its neighbors since 1975.
Logan was one of the first airports in the nation to install a monitoring system, which is used to direct Massport's aggressive noise abatement efforts, in communities affected by airport noise.
In 1976, Massport first instituted noise rules regarding runway use and restricted night flights during the sensitive nighttime hours between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. The rules also restrict the kind of aircraft that can be used to the quietest class of commercial jet aircraft available. By far, the largest source of noise reduction in recent years has resulted from the phase-out of older, noisier "Stage 2" aircraft. For over a decade Massport's rules banned late night Stage 2 flights. The rest of the country finally caught up to our rules in 1999, when federal regulations went into effect against these planes. These aircraft now account for less than 1 percent of operations at Logan. Since 1999, the number of Stage 2 operations at Logan has dropped from 90 flights per day to just over 4 (the federal rule only applies to aircraft weighing more than 75,000 pounds). All areas around Logan Airport have benefited from the continued grounding of these planes as air carriers and cargo operators modernize their fleets in compliance with FAA mandates.
Massport also has been aggressive at discouraging the use of Stage 3 "hush kitted" aircraft. These planes just barely make the FAA mandated noise cut off. In 2005, 98% of commercial jet activity was "new" Stage 3 aircraft (the quietest jets), an increase of almost 28% from 1999. Some of this fleet improvement was due to Massport's proactive work with air carriers such as Delta and US Airways, who replaced their noisy shuttle fleet (about 22, 000 flights per year before 9/11) with state of the art Boeing 737-800 and Airbus 319/320; and some resulted from the retirement of many re-certified Stage 3 aircraft after September 11, 2001.
Massport's Noise Abatement Office was formally established in early 1977 to implement these noise rules. The office helps the FAA and Logan air carriers analyze how airport noise affects local communities so that steps can be taken to further reduce the airport's impact on surrounding residents. The office maintains a 24-hour consumer hotline that allows Logan's neighbors to report excessive airport noise. Additional information is available by calling (617) 561-3333.
In 1981, Logan became the first airport in the nation to receive a grant from the FAA to test the benefits of soundproofing in public schools. That pilot program led Massport to begin soundproofing in 1983, when East Boston High School become the first public school soundproofed under this program.
Since then, Massport has spent more than $140 million to soundproof more than 9,080 dwelling units and 36 schools.
The distribution of aircraft traffic around the airport is another important noise abatement measure employed at Logan. The Preferential Runway Advisory System (PRAS) was developed in 1982 to help air traffic controllers evenly distribute traffic to provide the greatest measure of noise relief.
Massport will continue to explore new ways to enhance its noise abatement programs at Logan Airport, because it is an urban airport surrounded by residential communities.