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NEWS Last modified on May 9, 2016

New runway rotation plan approved by O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission

By a two-thirds majority vote, the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC) has approved a weekly night-time runway rotation plan for Chicago O’Hare International Airport. 

The Fly Quiet Runway Rotation Plan – developed by the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) in consultation with Suburban O’Hare Commission (SOC) aviation experts – seeks to establish a weekly runway rotation programme at O’Hare during overnight hours that is designed to achieve a more balanced distribution of noise exposure for Chicago and suburban communities. 

Each 12-week period may consist of one arrival and one departure runway or one mixed use runway (runway used for both arrivals and departures).

“What we have accomplished fulfills our mission for regional aircraft noise mitigation,” said ONCC Chair and Mount Prospect Mayor Arlene A. Juracek.

“The Runway Rotation Plan doesn’t burden one community. If we failed to get the vote we would have been stuck with the status quo and our members should not be satisfied with that outcome.”

Under the current Fly Quiet Program, certain runways are predominately utilised for aircraft arrivals and departures.

Communities near the flight paths of these designated runways are the most heavily impacted by aircraft noise at night. With a rotation programme in place, the designated nighttime arrival and departure runways at O’Hare would be rotated on a weekly basis. 

The CDA will submit the plan to the Federal Aviation Administration for review and approval and, if all goes to plan, a six-month test programme could begin as early as June or July 2016. 

Because the runway rotation plan is only a six-month test period, Fly Quiet procedures will revert back to the original plan upon completion of the test. However, comments and data will be collected and reviewed during the test period as a metric for long-term aircraft noise solutions.

Upon completion of this analytical phase,  ONCC will review and decide if the actual Interim Fly Quiet Program should be implemented, until closure of Runway 14R/32L. 

ONCC, an inter-governmental agency representing over 2.1 million residents living in 52 municipalities, school districts, and Cook and DuPage counties, is dedicated to mitigating aircraft noise from O’Hare International Airport.

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