Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Noise and Air Pollution
Residents in neighborhoods along the MacArthur / Potomac River corridor are experiencing an intolerable increase in airplane noise and air pollution resulting from the increased number of flights traveling overhead to and from Reagan National Airport.
A significant number of flights have been rerouted from the neighboring and better situated airports, Dulles International and Baltimore-Washington International, and are now traveling in and out of Reagan National, which is located in the center of the most densely populated sections of Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
These planes travel at low altitudes directly over residential areas, rather than following a path over the Potomac River, thereby significantly disturbing the numerous people who live in their flight path.
The flights, further, leave at unreasonable hours. Every day a reported average of 18 to 20 planes depart Reagan National before 6 am; from Dulles, instead, there is a reported average of only 5 to 7 flights. The flights also go well into the night, often passing overhead as late as midnight or later.
In addition to creating noise pollution, airplanes dump ultrafine particles, the smallest and most dangerous pollution particles in the air, which are not regulated. As they are heavier than air, these invisible byproducts float down on residents below, including the numerous children who are growing up in the flight path. These nanoparticles enter the lungs, but do not get breathed back out. Unlike larger particle pollutants, ultrafine particles are absorbed directly in the lungs where they have the ability to penetrate tissue and be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Ultrafine particles are reportedly associated with asthma, allergies and other respiratory disease, as well as heart attacks, strokes and even cancer. It is unacceptable to permit these airlines to continue to fly the large number of flights we are seeing, at such low altitudes, over densely populated residential areas, especially when two exceedingly good alternatives are only a few miles away.
We hereby request that more flights be rerouted to the more appropriate airports outside the city. To the extent flights do continue in and out of Reagan National, their hours of operation should be curtailed so they are not flying at the current obscenely early and/or late hours, and they should be required to remain over the Potomac River until they have reached a more acceptable altitude than they presently fly.
- Noise Ombudsman
Federal Aviation Administration
- Montgomery County Executive
- FAA Administrator
- FAA, COO Air Traffic Organization
- FAA, Director, Airport Compliance & Management Analysis
- U.S. Senator for Maryland
The Honorable Ben Cardin
- Council Vice President
The Honorable Roger Berliner
- President and Chief Executive Officer, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
Mr. John E. Potter
- Manager, Airport Noise Information Office, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
Mr. Mike Jeck
Residents in neighborhoods along the MacArthur / Potomac River corridor are experiencing an intolerable increase in airplane noise and air pollution resulting from the increased number of flights traveling overhead to and from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
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