Senate Acts To Reduce Airport Noise

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Operators of aircraft weighing less than 75,000 pounds that don't yet meet Stage 3 noise standards would have just three years to upgrade, if legislation introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., passes next year. The Aircraft Noise Reduction Act of 2006, introduced on Dec. 7, sends "an important message to airports, aircraft owners and airport neighbors that the impacts of these aircraft can no longer be tolerated," said John Lindemann, an anti-noise advocate. The legislation will be considered when the new Congress convenes in January. An estimated 1,000 to 1,300 Stage 2 aircraft are still in operation, less than 10 percent of the fleet, but they account for an inordinate percentage of noise complaints, Lindemann said. Stage 2 aircraft, on average, are twice as loud as Stage 3 airplanes and burn 30 percent more fuel, Lautenberg said. Under his proposal, individual airports would be allowed to opt out of the ban.