What are the criteria used by the FAA to evaluate an application for a curfew?

Monday September 23 2019

In 1990 in response to a proliferation of "uncoordinated and inconsistent" noise and access restrictions at airports, Congress enacted the Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA). Airports with existing curfew programs before the legislation's enactment were allowed to continue these programs in perpetuity. To provide a formal path for all other airports that wished to enact future noise and access restrictions, ANCA established the Part 161 "Notice and Approval of Airport Noise and Access Restrictions process. The Part 161 process requires the airport to submit documentation to the FAA that establishes that the proposed noise and access restriction satisfies all six of the following criteria for consideration:

  1. The restriction is reasonable, non-arbitrary, and nondiscriminatory;
  2. The restriction does not create an undue burden on interstate or foreign commerce;
  3. The proposed restriction maintains safe and efficient use of the navigable airspace;
  4. The proposed restriction does not conflict with an existing Federal statute or regulation;
  5. The applicant has provided adequate opportunity for public comment on the proposed restriction; and
  6. The proposed restriction does not create an undue burden on the national aviation system.

To date, the Part 161 process has only been applied to impose noise and access restrictions on Stage II and III aircraft but not Stage IV. The FAA has the final authority to determine if an airport satisfactorily meets all six criteria.