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Long Beach : Final OK of Flight Measure

July 24, 1986

In preparation for a court challenge on Monday, the City Council gave final approval this week to an ordinance allowing airline flights at Long Beach Airport to increase from 18 to 32 if aircraft noise is lowered and then kept within levels set by state law.

The ordinance limits airport noise in several ways and imposes tough fines on violators, but does not go as far as the 41-flight maximum recommended by a city-appointed task force in December.

Council members have said the ordinance is a compromise that takes into account the effects of airport noise on nearby homeowners and legal pressure by airlines and the federal government to increase flights to at least 40.

Spokesmen for airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration have said they will challenge the new ordinance in court, beginning with a federal court hearing Monday.

At issue are not only the maximum number of flights, but how quickly those flights could be added if noise levels are reduced, then maintained, by using quieter aircraft and flying techniques. The ordinance calls for maximum increases of two flights every three months. The airlines want an immediate increase from 18 to 26 flights.

Adoption of the ordinance ended a three-year city effort to come up with an ordinance supported by technical data so that it could withstand a legal challenge. In 1983, a federal judge struck down the city's noise ordinance, saying its flight allocation system was arbitrary and not supported by sufficient data.

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