Loud take-offs at MSP runway trigger new complaints - KMSP-TV

Loud take-offs at MSP runway trigger new complaints

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Map of noise complaints Map of noise complaints
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Some of the residents in south Minneapolis say things aren't as quiet as they once were -- with quiet being a relative term, and Fox 9 News found that one runway could be the root of the ruckus.

Neighbors say a recent rise in airplane noise has become too much to ignore, and although all the locals know it's an undeniable part of summer in the southwest portion of the city, the complaints are coming in. A map of the noise complaints from June shows about what might be expected -- several in south Minneapolis and Eagan, communities located on either side of the two main parallel runways. That makes finding out whether something is tangibly difficult a little bit tougher.

Minneapolis City Councilman John Quincy heard the complaints from his constituents and fired off a letter to the FAA to ask a pretty basic question: "What is the reason we're doing more flights off of 30L?"

The 30L runway sends flights over south Minneapolis. The FAA has promised that, when it is safe to do so, they'll use 30L for landings rather than louder take-offs; however, Monday was just the opposite.

"It's not that they're opposed to the Runway Use System, it's just not serving my constituents very well," Quincy explained.

Runway use is all up to the FAA, but a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Airports Commission told Fox 9 News it may be a matter of perception that's driving the uptick in complaints. In the warmer weather that summer brings, planes take off at lower altitudes -- and more people may notice the noise because they're outside. Yet, a total of 298 people in Minneapolis complained about the airport noise in June -- which is up 9 percent from a year ago. However, only 19 percent of all MSP take-offs were on 30L as compared to the 27 percent from the year before.

Quincy has another theory. He believes the uptick in irritating noise may be a consequence of a cost-saving strategy by the airlines because 30L is closer to some of Delta's busiest concourses. Whatever the reason, he'd like some answers before the noise and summer fades.

"Heavens, this is something I've been working on for 5 years and my predecessor for longer than that," he said.

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