Increase in LaGuardia Departures has had Major Impact on Area’s Quality of Life: Report 

Increase in LaGuardia Departures has had Major Impact on Area’s Quality of Life: Report 

 Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Jeff Kern

According to Queens Quiet Skies’ analysis, LaGuardia Airport departures over northeast Queens rose 47 percent from 2002 to 2016.

By Michael V. Cusenza

 Despite no major change in LaGuardia Airport capacity or prevailing seasonal wind direction, departures over northeast Queens rose 47 percent from 2002 to 2016, according to a recently released report by the civic group Queens Quiet Skies.

The analysis, “Increases in LaGuardia Airport Departures over Northeast Queens, Jackson Heights & Woodside FY 2002 to FY 2016,” is the result of an April 2016 Freedom of Information Act request of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey asking for all runway usage data for the entirety of LaGuardia’s history. The notable years 2002 through 2014 were compared side by side. The results are shown throughout the report.

Other key findings of the research:

  • Jackson Heights and Woodside have experienced a near sevenfold increase in departures since 2008, with most occurring on weekends.
  • Total departures over northeast Queens are up 47 percent since 2002, an average increase of 2,779 flights per year, even while airport capacity hasn’t generally increased. Departures from all other runways were down 14 percent collectively since 2010.
  • The departure rate over northeast Queens was 37.25 percent in 2002, but had reached almost 50 percent by 2014, even without a substantial capacity increase or change in prevailing seasonal wind direction. Departures over northeast Queens now comprise almost half of LaGuardia’s total departures.

Additionally, one of the conclusions of the QQS report indicates that “LaGuardia puts its arrivals ‘into the wind,’ while its departures have recently begun favoring Runway 13 and Runway 22. This has had tremendous effect on northeast Queens and Jackson Heights and Woodside. Many other neighborhoods such as Maspeth and Corona could be negatively affected by this operational trend. Prior to 2002, LaGuardia had utilized its three primary departure runways equitably, without a sustained overuse of any particular runway.”

According to the report’s Statement of Purpose and the QQS website, Queens Quiet Skies was formed in 2012 to: Reduce noise from New York, New Jersey and Long Island airplane flights (JFK, LGA, and Newark), without merely moving noise from one place to another; educate the public about this complex problem, taking this opportunity to fix the airspace and modernize the airports; and to create a public forum where all the stakeholders – citizens, elected officials, the Port of New York and New Jersey, representatives from Long Island organizations, the Federal Aviation Administration, the airlines, and others, will collaborate to make changes.

Among the all-volunteer organization’s goals:

  • Now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has required the Port Authority to prepare a Noise Compatibility Study that meets the requirements of the FAA’s “Part 150” for JFK and LaGuardia airports, watch the process very closely.
  • Require the installation of many more noise monitors at LaGuardia, where there now are only five (four for Queens, one for the Bronx), and JFK, where there are only seven in Queens and four in Nassau County, for a total of 11 for JFK. At most other major airports, there are 30 noise monitors.


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