September 9, 2019

Chicago Department of Aviation and O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission Announce Plan for Nightly Runway Rotation

FAA approved plan to address airport noise and incorporate feedback from local communities

CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC), an inter-governmental agency representing over 2.1 million residents, announce the finalization of the Interim Fly Quiet (IFQ) Runway Rotation Plan for O’Hare International Airport. The IFQ, which has recently secured approvals by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will work to reduce aircraft noise exposure for communities and provide nighttime noise relief for communities near O’Hare.

IFQ will occur during overnight hours when airport demand requires only one arrival and one departure runway and will use an eight-week schedule to rotate the primary arrival and departure runways to balance aircraft noise. The program will run from November 2019 to May 2020 and from September 2020 to January 2021, once the extension of Runway 9C is complete. 

The CDA applauds the ONCC for dedicating itself to creating a quieter airport for O’Hare’s surrounding communities and looks forward to continued collaboration on this effort.  

“This innovative approach in addressing noise, an issue all airports face, is yet another thing that makes O’Hare International Airport unique,” said CDA Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee. “When developing this program we wanted to ensure that we worked alongside the people most impacted by airport noise, our neighboring communities. This kind of collaboration is a rarity in the aviation industry and I am proud to be working toward a solution that everyone can feel good about.” 

“I am grateful for the hard work of the Fly Quiet Committee members and their dedication to finding an equitable resolution for this situation,” said ONCC Chair and Mount Prospect Mayor Arlene Juracek. “I’d also like to extend a warm thank you to the CDA and FAA for their cooperation.”

The IFQ rotation program is the first of its kind in the U.S. and is intended to improve upon the original nighttime noise abatement program first implemented in the 1970s, which has since evolved to reflect today’s modern aircraft and flight paths. Development of IFQ began in 2015 when the ONCC conducted three Runway Rotation Tests to evaluate different runway use configurations.

Chicago is a national leader in addressing airport noise—one of the most challenging issues facing airports today. The CDA has worked extensively with the FAA over the years, along with the ONCC and community leaders, to develop plans to safely and effectively address nighttime rotation. 

The interim Fly Quiet rotation is a critical part of the CDA’s mission to balance operations at O’Hare, between East/West and North/South today and as the airfield modernization program continues.  The IFQ is expected to inform the development of a permanent fly quiet program to be in place when the O’Hare Modernization Program is completed. The ONCC’s Fly Quiet Committee is currently meeting with the CDA to develop the final nighttime noise program – Fly Quiet 21 – to be implemented once the final runway is commissioned. 

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