FAA disregards JFK’s neighbors
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The efficiency mantra, however, does not hold up to scrutiny. Efficiency is not served when the FAA continues to expand the period of flight operations past 21 hours a day. Nor when the FAA ignores safety issues by allowing jumbo jets to land and take off on short runways; or when a growing number of pilots refuse to use runways 22L or 22R, especially during bad weather, because these are much shorter than runways 13 and 31. There were also several recent instances of wind shear conditions overlooked by air controllers. Also recently, there was a near collision of a small private plane with a commercial aircraft headed for JFK via runway 22L. It should be clear to all: with increased and compacted aircraft volume, there is increased risk.
That increased risk is focused mostly on the residents who live in densely populated suburban areas and who endure the bulk of flights utilizing runways 22L and 22R. Communities such as Rosedale and Springfield Gardens, along with Valley Stream and Elmont, bear the brunt of the increased volume of noise and harmful pollution; but other communities such as Lynbrook, Malverne, and Rockville Centre endure the noise and pollution of swiftly climbing planes. And communities as far flung as the Massapequas, New Hyde Park and East Williston are also affected. Obviously, this is not a localized problem. It is one that affects much of Nassau County.
But not all of Nassau County is victimized by FAA policy. Communities to the east of runways 13 and 31 have a favored status. They do not experience the same level of abuse. They have much less plane traffic and their east-west runways have been greatly under-utilized the last several years, despite $363 million spent by the FAA a few years ago to extend and widen these runways to accommodate the next generation of jumbo jets.