BOSTON – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced it will resume late night and early morning opposite direction operations, weather permitting, beginning this week at Boston Logan International Airport, and other facilities around the nation. The so-called “head-to-head’’ procedure is used during times of very low demand and directs aircraft over water. This should result in reduced flight noise over several communities surrounding Logan during the late night and early morning period, as more flights will be routed over Boston Harbor.
The head-to-head procedure was halted nationally last June by the FAA to review the procedure. When in use at Logan, the procedure has aircraft departing from Runway 15R and landing on Runway 33L during the late night (typically midnight to 5 a.m.) and when weather conditions are appropriate, including good visibility and little wind.
“We thank the FAA for its safety review of the procedure and for the decision to include it in its air traffic procedures because it is effective in reducing noise,’’ said Ed Freni, Director of Aviation. “For decades, Massport has worked to reduce the impacts of noise on residents near the airport.’’
Sustained airplane-related noise is down markedly in the last 15 years for two main reasons. Even as the number of New Englanders who use Logan continues to rise, the number of flights is down. In 2000, more than 27 million people used Logan and there were 487,966 flights. In 2013, 30.2 million people used Logan and there were 361,339 flights. Additionally, aircraft and engine technology have improved and made planes much quieter. In 1990, more than 44,000 people surrounding Logan lived within the highest noise levels defined by the FAA’s 65 day/night decibel noise level or greater. In 2013, that number had dropped to 4,307.
Boston Logan is 30 minutes from the intersection of Route 128 and I-90 and 10 minutes from downtown Boston, and serves as the gateway to the New England region and offers nonstop service to 76 domestic and 42 international destinations and in 2013 handled more than 30 million passengers. Boston Logan is served by two public transit lines and is the Air Line Pilot Association’s Airport of the Year for 2008 because of its commitment to safety. Over the past decade, the airport spent $4.5 billion on a modernization program that includes new terminals, public transportation access, parking facilities, roadways and airport concessions, and has been transformed into a world-class 21
st Century facility. The airport generates $8 billion in total economic impact each year.
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