House turns down bid to ban nighttime flights at Bob Hope, Van Nuys airports

The Bob Hope Airport in Burbank on Dec. 17, 2003.
The Bob Hope Airport in Burbank on Dec. 17, 2003. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Small planes will continue to take off and land at night at Bob Hope and Van Nuys Airports. The House of Representatives turned thumbs down on a proposal to reinstate a nighttime curfew.

Van Nuys and Bob Hope airports had imposed curfews on night flights before 1990. But federal legislation lifted the ban and Bob Hope Airport spent $7 million and nine years trying unsuccessfully to reinstate the restrictions.

An amendment offered by Democratic Congressmen Adam Schiff, Howard Berman, and Brad Sherman would reinstate a night time curfew on general aviation flights in and out of Van Nuys and Bob Hope Airports.

But the head of the House Transportation Committee, Republican John Mica of Texas, said granting the exemption would set a dangerous precedent. "If we open this up, and we start taking airport by airport, and granting certain levels of activity in time, we start destroying a national aviation system."

Congressman Schiff argued that the curfew would affect fewer than a dozen private flights. "There’ll be no impact on commercial flights," he told Mica. "Commercial airlines do not operate out of Van Nuys and commercial airlines already abide by a voluntary nighttime curfew at Bob Hope Airport."

The House turned down the proposal by a vote of 178 to 243.

Schiff said he's disappointed, but "in what may be the first-ever vote on this issue in Congress we had a substantial amount of support that we can build on, and I am determined to press on.” He says the appeals process is "deeply flawed and the FAA has little intention of granting relief to any community unless forced. I will continue fighting on behalf of the thousands of San Fernando Valley residents who have long-sought relief from aviation-related nighttime noise.”

Chairman Mica agreed that the Federal Aviation Administration should revisit its appeal process.

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