A new fine structure may look good on paper or in sound bites, but could it jeopardize what we have had in place for the past 27 years?
Jet Blue is the #1 offender of these late night flights with 110 violations in 2016 and 233 violations in 2017. The total for all four other carriers in 2016 was 9 violations, in 2017 a grand total of 14 for the current five additional carriers.
Some of you may not know that Jet Blue is under a 2003 consent decree that now allows $6K fine for each offense. In 2016, Jet Blue paid over $510K in fines and by November 2017 they had paid over $1.2M. Since it appeared that these dollars simply became a part of their doing business at LGB, our city prosecutor renegotiated what was meant to offer Jet Blue the incentive to reduce those late night flights. Instead, after agreeing to the new fine levels of $6K per offense, Jet Blue has challenged their obligation. On what ground? They say that their interpretation of our noise ordinance allows for this to occur without penalty.
Page 3 - LBMC 16.43
Violations occurring during the period between ten p.m. and eleven p.m. which are the result of unanticipated delays beyond their reasonable control of the aircraft Owner/Operator shall be waived upon the presentation of evidence satisfactory to the Airport Manager that the delayed arrival or departure resulted from such circumstances. Delays caused by mechanical failure (but not by routine maintenance), by weather conditions or by air traffic control conditions will be considered beyond the Owner/Operator’s control.
Jet Blue is arguing that if a JB aircraft is held up in Seattle for their flight to JFK due to air traffic control issues and thereby delays the scheduled flight from JFK - LGB they are not to blame.
It is our opinion that it is the carriers responsibility to arrange for proper aircraft utilization throughout their system. The flight that begins in Seattle is obviously not a connecting flight to Long Beach, CA.
This appeal is working its way to city council for their decision on March 13th, 2018. Should the city council deny their appeal ( and yes they should) JB will move up the legal ladder to the FAA and the courts. What impact could this action have on our coveted noise ordinance? Two merging LGB issues ( the Jet Blue appeal and the LGB fine increases) meet head on putting our neighborhood communities at great risk.
I do not believe that any seated elected official wants their legacy to be that their move(s) destroyed our noise ordinance!! Do let them know how you feel prior to the 3/13 hearing.
Please pass the word and mark your calendars to attend this very important hearing.
There are two additional community meetings for public input on the proposed fine increases. They are on
Wednesday, February 7th 6:00p.m. at Gas & Oil and Saturday, February 10th, 10a.m. at The EXPO.