An airport contract for studies to help Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) get exemption from federal jurisdiction over airport noise policies was approved last week.

The City of Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners awarded a $6.5 million contract to Harris Miller Miller and Hanson Monday, March 21st, to perform noise studies at LAX and Van Nuys Airports.

The studies are designed to support LAX efforts seeking exemptions from the federal government on future noise generation and aircraft operations.

The studies are required of airport owners to justify a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) waiver of the federal preemption of noise jurisdiction over local entities such as the City of Los Angeles.

FAA approval would allow Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) — the City of Los Angeles agency that operates city airports — to implement the proposed noise and access restrictions on aircraft operations at LAX.

The noise control measure proposed for LAX would prohibit easterly departure of all aircraft — with certain exceptions — from the airport between midnight and 6:30 a.m.

LAX usually requires aircraft to land and take off over the ocean during the midnight to 6:30 a.m. period to lessen noise impacts on residential areas east of the airport.

Such LAX over-ocean takeoff and landing requirements are lifted for weather conditions or safety considerations.

LAWA would be the first airport authority in the U.S. to embark on two simultaneous studies at separate airports.

The noise studies are required as part of the Federal Aviation Regulation process enacted after Congress passed the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990.

The federal act prohibits airport owners from implementing any noise and access restrictions at their airports.

The Los Angeles airport commission action addresses a major concern of LAX Community Noise Roundtables — which determined that a serious noise disturbance problem exists when aircraft take off and land to the east of the airport during the early morning period.

The study process involves collection and analyses of necessary data to justify the takeoff and landing restriction, notification of public and airport stakeholders, and submission of the proposed restriction to the FAA for review and approval.

The studies are anticipated to take three to five years to complete.