Here we address some frequently asked questions and common misconceptions about the airport.

Noise complaints are ignored and won’t help the problem

Environmental and aviation laws require data to demonstrate a noise problem before any noise mitigation program can begin. Recorded noise complaints identify the area, altitude, time of day, and type of aircraft creating the noise. Every noise complaint is checked against the airport’s radar records and logged. Without noise complaints, the county and the FAA can claim that there is no noise problem. The airport has a full time staff dedicated to dealing with noise, so complaints do not inconvenience anyone.

To make a complaint, use this form. You can also call (914) 939-8484 with the following information:

  • Caller’s name and address (please spell out)
  • Nearest cross street
  • City/town, state and zip code
  • Describe the noise event by date and time of the event, type of aircraft involved and description or color (e.g. commercial jet or single-engine propeller) and its direction relative to your location
  • Include any other descriptive adjectives that may be helpful to have (e.g. low, loud, vibration, or frequent traffic)
  • State if you would like a follow-up call and if so, remember to leave a phone number where you wish to be reached. Allow 10 business days for a return response
  • State if you would like a copy of your complaint with the airport’s findings. Allow 10 business days for a return response

Relaxing the passenger cap will lead to fewer flights on newer, larger, and quieter airplanes

No. Larger airliners are noisier than smaller airliners. This table shows noise levels caused by airliners in use at the airport today, and a few larger airliners that could be used at the airport without rebuilding or lengthening the runway:

Model Seats Noise (EPNdB)
Flyover Side (Full power) Approach
Boeing 737-800 154-175 84.40 94.20 96.40
Boeing 737-700 118-143 84.60 94.70 95.90
Airbus A320 (JetBlue) 150 84.90 91.60 94.40
Boeing 717-200 (Delta) 110 82.20 91.50 92.10
Embraer E190 (JetBlue) 100 86.90 91.90 92.80
Bombardier CRJ-900 (Delta) 76 84.50 89.40 93.20
Embraer E170 (American) 69-76 82.20 93.30 94.90
Bombardier CRJ-700 (Delta / American) 63-70 82.70 89.40 92.60
Bombardier CRJ/CRJ-200 (Delta / American) 50 78.70 82.40 92.10
Embraer E135 (United) 50 77.90 84.40 92.30
Source: FAA Advisory Circular AC 36-1H

Allowing larger airplanes will not reduce the number of flights because there are few cases where the same airline has frequent flights to the same destination. There is one case as of June 2017 where this occurs – Delta flies to Atlanta at 6:00 AM and 7:30 AM. However, allowing a larger airplane would likely lead to a noisier 6:00 AM flight and elimination of the 7:30 AM flight, because the earlier flight meets more connections in Atlanta.

The Terminal Use Regulation will prevent expansion

Airlines could schedule 2.6x the number of flights today without any change in the law. The county legislature could change the law in the future, given the right incentives to do so. And the TUR does not apply to private flights, which make up 85-90% of all flights at the airport.

Preventing new construction will prevent expansion

About 75% of all flights at the airport are from aircraft that are not based at the airport. These airplanes arrive, drop off & pick up passengers, and leave. While building new facilities might make the airport more attractive for these flights, they do not rely on new infrastructure for growth.

A new runway has almost nothing to do with whether the airport will expand. Airplanes are able to land and take off with winds in any direction, including crosswinds. An Airbus A320, for example, can handle crosswinds up to 38 knots.

Preventing a longer or stronger runway, however, is important in limiting the size of aircraft that can use the airport.

The airport’s ISO 14001 certification ensures the environment will be protected

No. ISO 14001 is a process standard and not a target standard. It specifies a way to keep track of environmental targets and whether you are meeting them, but it is silent on what those targets should be. The targets the airport describes publicly today are vague – things like “monitor former Texaco hangar” or “reduce the potential impact of aircraft deicing.” Additionally, while the standard requires an annual independent audit, the county has not released any of these audits to the public.

We have serious questions as to how and whether the airport is working on its existing environmental goals. For example, reinstating the groundwater monitoring program that was ended in 2011 has been one of the airport’s environmental goals since at least 2014. To date, the airport still has not put this program back in place.

Privatization is no different from the current situation, where a private company operates the airport

While it is true that a private company, AvPORTS, operates the airport today, they serve at the pleasure of the county. Additionally, the contract with AvPORTS provides the county with great latitude in specifying how AvPORTS should do their job.

Importantly, the existing contract specifies that AvPORTS has a fiduciary duty to the county. This is important as a fiduciary is the highest legal standard of care. AvPORTS must do what is in the county’s best interests, even if it is not in AvPORTS’ best interest. A lessee under privatization would not be held to this standard.

If the county feels that AvPORTS is not doing a good job, they can be fired for any reason, or no reason at all, with 6 months’ notice. Privatization would lock the county into an agreement for 30-40 years with little recourse unless the county can prove in court that the privatizer has committed a material breach of their contract.

The airport master plan may never happen; they’re just following FAA requirements

The FAA does not require an updated master plan in order to receive federal funding. The FAA has consistently granted the county funds to improve the airport, including nearly $3 million for improved storm water management in 2015, despite the last master plan being from 1986. FAA grants have totaled $37 million since 2005 and $20 million since 2010, for projects as varied as security improvements, noise monitoring, stormwater management, deicing, electric vehicles, and pavement resurfacing.

County Executive Astorino addresses his Town Hall audience on July 24, 2017, stating at minute 7:12what is mostly the case, is this master plan sits on a shelf somewhere in Washington, and is never utilized”. An updated airport master plan could have planned for zero construction and no increase in commercial flights. The last airport master plan called for construction and expansion, and these things were completed. Either the County Executive wasted $1.4 million of taxpayer money on the plan, or he is being disingenuous and trying to sneak his terrible plan past public opposition.