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Aircraft Noise Issues

Aircraft Noise Issues

Potential environmental opportunities and constraints associated with future growth at the Airport were evaluated, both in terms of footprint or site environmental considerations associated with new facilities (such as a potential new terminal building), and operational environmental considerations associated with increased aviation activity (i.e., more airline passengers, more air cargo weight, more flights, etc.).

It is important to note that throughout the master planning process, Port staff considered environmental issues at a screening-level (identifying key environmental benefits and constraints).thumb_2010_cnel_v_2004

Because this Master Plan is a concept-level planning and feasibility study, it does not provide details on development plans, engineering feasibility, or environmental constraints that would be needed before the Port could decide whether to proceed with any particular project.

The environmental consideration that was studied in some detail in the Master Plan is aircraft noise. The aircraft noise analysis looked at both single aircraft overflight noise contours (called Single Event Noise Exposure Level or SENEL) and time-weighted cumulative noise contours (called the Community Noise Equivalent Level or CNEL).

Overall, there will be more aircraft operations in 2010 than 2004, going from approximately 586 daily air carrier (passenger and cargo airline) operations in 2004 to approximately 706 daily air carrier operations anticipated in 2010 (a 20% increase), which translates to more single aircraft overflight noise events. However, the Port anticipates a decrease in the number of operations of the noisiest aircraft, the Boeing 727, going from 16 daily operations in 2004 to an anticipated 6 daily operations in 2010, with only 2 departures at night (compared to 4 on average in 2004).

This anticipated decrease is due to FedEx’s slow phase-out of its older and noisier Boeing 727 aircraft. Because of the reduction in Boeing 727 operations, especially at night, the forecast CNEL contours to the northwest of the Airport (adjacent to the City of Alameda) are smaller than the existing CNEL contours, as shown on the map below.

2004 and 2010 CNEL Contours (340KB PDF)