Navigating Noise: Environmental Challenges and Mitigation Strategies at Los Angeles International Airport

Published: 2024-01-27
Navigating Noise: Environmental Challenges and Mitigation Strategies at Los Angeles International Airport
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Economics Environment Airline industry
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1759 words
15 min read


Airport operations involve several activities that can affect the environment. The activities that raise environmental concerns include construction, aircraft operation, airport facility maintenance and operations, cleaning of aircraft, and passenger vehicle operation in the airport. In the case of airport expansion, such activities' environmental activities increase (Grampella et al., 2017). Hence, both local and state agencies ensure the airport authority implements environmental mitigation projects in most cases. Most projects and operations of an airport are canceled or delayed because of community concerns about their operations' environmental impacts. Certain environmental requirements are put in place in all airports regardless of location or size. Because of the increasing growth of air travel, there is an increased need for environmental regulatory issues. Also, new requirements are anticipated to cause essential changes in airport operations. The paper discusses issues relating to noise abatement and various environmental concerns in Los Angeles International Airport.

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Environmental Issues in Los Angeles International Airport

Noise, air pollution, traffic jams, water pollution, and biodiversity loss are some of the negative airport externalities that are experienced in Los Angeles International Airport. Such externalities are costs that affect communities around the airport. However, the most negative externality which is a major concern, is airline noise in the airport. Various operations at the airport are the source of the externalities manifested in the property market and negative outcomes on the neighbors' neighbors. In many instances, there is tension between environmental sustainability and economic sustainability of the airport’s operations (Spence, 2018). Through the externalities, the airport's growth influences local planning of the area around the airport as the planning is restricted to zoning plans, limiting the potential of development in the neighboring area. Los Angeles International Airport has introduced limited land use around its periphery, and such a negative effect has reduced the construction of residential properties within such limited land use. Land-use restrictions are not directly caused by noise pollution in the airport; rather, they can result indirectly from an increase in awareness in public concerning the effects of the negative externalities. A big problem arises if the two externalities, such as land-use restrictions and noise pollution, overlap.

Aviation noise in airports negatively impacts the quality of property and life values for the individuals living around the airport. There has been a decrease in the number of people affected by noise issues in airports in the past 35 years because of noise abatement efforts and advanced technology (Spence, 2018). Despite such advancements, the issue of noise in airports has become a significant problem because of factors such as the increased number of corporate jets and airlines, growing air traffic, and the concentration of noise and airline traffic in a small number of airports. However, the issue is often considered to be a principal focus for non-governmental organizations and community groups who are against runway operations. The aircraft noise is the most detrimental environmental effect that disrupts and causes annoyance to a community living around the airport. Other effects include adverse effects on children's performance academically and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases for the same individuals living in the airport's vicinity.

Los Angeles International Airport has adopted a principle policy and a sustainability vision that commits the Airport to environmentally sound and efficient operations. The commitment is to setting efficient airport environmental standards and performance. The airport is working to establish and maintain programs that reduce the environmental impacts of various airport operations while creating a favorable environment for its neighbors.

In Los Angeles International Airport, airport policymakers and authorities' annoyance caused by aircraft noise has been identified as a harmful effect that should be reduced and prevented in any case. The airport's proprietor had designed and implemented several noise mitigation factors because the authorities have identified noise as the greatest nightmare in the surroundings and the airport employees (RodrĂ­guez-DĂ­az et al., 2017). Through its seven board members of the airport commissioners and the community noise roundtable members, Los Angeles International Airport has determined that the problem occurs mostly during a night flight when the aircraft is departing or landing from the east direction.

The noise and other externalities in the airport have negative economic impacts because aircraft noise negatively affects the values of properties around the airport. All residential properties around the airport experience a decrease in their market value. More individuals will reside in a home, which gets the effect of aircraft noise at any discount or cost. Hence, the area's economic activity around the airport is largely affected by the noise, which then negatively affects land value around the airport. Noise is the by-product of economic activity that affects the airport's surroundings cumulatively and in a single event. The nature of the noise is not the same as the other airport externalities. However, the increase in population and improvements in technology have made noise more difficult to tolerate.

Mitigation of Noise and Other Externalities at Los Angeles International Airport

There are several ways of dealing with externalities in the airport. The best way that the airport has chosen is the effluent charge scheme. The mitigation method allows the airport to incorporate several environmental standards into various operating choices. Through efficient decisions concerning the mitigation strategy, the airport will encounter minimum costs in achieving the environmental standard. Noise reduction is the first priority as a mitigation factor. The reduction should happen at the source of such noise, including the aerodynamic nose and engine noise (Spence, 2018). The airports have taken measures such as reducing the noise through adjustment of the landing and take-off procedures. However, the airport authority has identified such measures as insufficient and infeasible; hence, they have applied sound insulation of dwellings in the aircraft.

The other mitigation strategy to control noise in the airport is through the adoption of runaway use restrictions. Such restrictions are utilized to eliminate departures towards the east direction. Such restrictions are put in operation between midnight and 6:30 a.m. when westerly operations are going on in the airport, which involves departure or landing over the ocean (Moore et al., 2017). The recent procedures for the mitigation of noise specify clearly, the departure and arrival times and procedures for easterly and westerly operations. Inboard runaways are used by all airplanes from 12:00 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. (Moore et al., 2017). The runaways are used for a feasible scope with arrival Runaways such as 6R and 7L and departure Runaways such as 24L and 25R (Moore et al., 2017). The deviation is permitted in the procedures because of aircraft emergencies, field maintenance and construction work, and adverse weather.

Engine run-up restrictions are another strategy for minimizing noise in the airport. All run-ups for the test of engines and maintenance are restricted at Los Angeles International Airport. The restriction happens between 11:00 p.m. before midnight and 6:00 a.m. unless the executive director authorizes an individual plane. The conditions in the restrictions include a single-engine operation in each leasehold area not exceeding an idle power. Every engine is checked separately if more engines are under check-up. Also, at the airport perimeter, the running of engines occurs in a sound suppression unit that reduces the level of sound produced to about 8 dB in the surrounding residential area during engine run-up operations (Moore et al., 2017). Auxiliary Power Units are applied only to preflight and maintenance checks of engines. A minimum time is used to check idle engines as a necessity for preflight and maintenance checks. For jet engines that are not mounted in the aircraft, their test or maintenance is restricted and only allowed when the operation is done in a test cell of adequate design with the condition that noise reduction takes place in the test cell and such reduction reaches a distance of 250 feet from the test cell (RodrĂ­guez-DĂ­az et al., 2017).

Another mitigation strategy is imperial terminal procedures, which apply to turbojets and turboprops during their arrival and departure. During arrival at the imperial terminal, turbojets of different weights and turboprops with a maximum gross landing weight of over 65,000 pounds are required to shut down engines when they arrive at Taxiway A; then, they are dragged to their parking position (Clarke et al., 2013). During departure, such turbojets and turboprops are dragged to the taxiways from their parking position, and they are positioned to face west or east before the engine starts.

There are existing program measures like aircraft noise community response programs responsible for offering information on different aircraft that cause noise for proper mitigation of noise in Los Angeles International Airport. The airport authority has a noise complaint form and phone line on its website. The form and phone line are available 24 hours a day, and it is used by residents who live around the airport to contact the authorities if an aircraft causes noise (RodrĂ­guez-DĂ­az et al., 2017). The airport also has a tracking system based on the web where residents or public members can research the operation of a certain aircraft that might have caused a noise disturbance. They provide a link where the complainant can send the complaint, which includes the aircraft's data. Also, faxes or emails can be used to send complaints, which are then investigated by the airport staff.


In conclusion, the environmental issues of Los Angeles International Airport have a significant economic impact through the effects of land use restrictions and noise pollution created by airlines on the residual properties around the airport. Noise pollution and other negative externalities result in a reduction in house prices of apartments around the airport. The airport has designed and implemented several mitigation strategies to reduce noise pollution from the airlines and reduce its effects on the neighbors living on the airport periphery. Some procedures put in place are adjusting the landing and take-off procedures, adopting runaway use restrictions, engine run-up restrictions, and imperial terminal procedures, which apply to turbojets and turboprops during their arrival and departure.


Clarke, J. P., Brooks, J., Nagle, G., Scacchioli, A., White, W., & Liu, S. R. (2013). Optimized profile descent arrivals at Los Angeles International Airport. Journal of Aircraft, 50(2), 360-369.

Grampella, M., Martini, G., Scotti, D., Tassan, F., & Zambon, G. (2017). Determinants of airports’ environmental effects. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 50, 327-344.

Moore, R. H., Shook, M. A., Ziemba, L. D., DiGangi, J. P., Winstead, E. L., Rauch, B., & Shingler, T. J. (2017). Take-off engine particle emission indices for in-service aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport. Scientific data, 4.

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Navigating Noise: Environmental Challenges and Mitigation Strategies at Los Angeles International Airport. (2024, Jan 27). Retrieved from

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