Minister of Transport urges airline to take advantage of “Quieter Fleet Incentive Program”
Oakville North-Burlington MP Pam Damoff applauded Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s letter to Air Canada’s President and CEO Calin Rovinescu, which urges Air Canada to retrofit its A320 fleet of aircraft to reduce noise at and around Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. According to Minister Garneau, the simple retrofit could help to alleviate noise for constituents living and working near the airport.
Since being elected, MP Damoff has been actively working with residents and the Minister on the issue of airplane noise in her riding. In response to a growing number of airplane noise complaints, a Town Hall was held in Oakville in April 2016, which attracted over 100 people and gave them the opportunity to ask GTAA and NAV CANADA officials about their Noise Management Program and their Noise Mitigation Initiatives Engagement Plan.
MP Damoff met with Minister Garneau after the town hall meeting and pushed for more accountability over reducing noise over Oakville North-Burlington. “We must all work together to manage airplane noise and ensure the health and well-being of our residents,” said MP Damoff. “I met with Minister Garneau and his officials about the negative impact of airplane noise and to find viable, effective solutions to the problem. Today, I applaud Minister Garneau’s suggestion to Air Canada that the airline work to retrofit the A320 fleet to reduce noise over our communities as one important step in addressing the issue.”
In his letter, Minister Garneau sympathized with residents living within the vicinity of airports, airport operators and air carriers, noting that, “aircraft noise is a continuous issue for these residents” and that “noise from aircraft continues to be a public concern.”
Although substantial progress has been made in addressing the effects of aviation on the environment and aircraft that are built today are 75-percent quieter than they were in the 1960s, public attention has been focused on the A320 aircraft which produce a “whistling noise” on approach, caused by the flow of air over the Fuel Over-Pressure Protector (FOPP) cavities under the wings. According to Minister Garneau, a FOPP air-flow deflector retrofit is available from the manufacturer which would greatly reduce or alleviate this noise entirely.
As part of its Noise Management Action Plan, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) introduced a “Quieter Fleet Incentive Program” that rewards airlines that retrofit their A320 fleet by 2020. Because
the vast majority of A320 flights in Canada are flown by Air Canada, Minister Garneau wrote directly to Air Canada requesting the airline commit to developing a program to accelerate the retrofitting of the A320 aircraft family. Such a retrofit can easily be integrated into the existing maintenance schedule of the aircraft at an affordable cost and would have a tangible positive impact on noise, with potential reductions of five to eleven decibels for A320 aircrafts.
“Following a Town Hall held by Helios, I spoke with a constituent impacted by air plane noise who was also a pilot,” said MP Damoff. “He told me that the one thing that would have the biggest impact on reducing the impact of the noise on residents was to fix the A320 aircrafts. This has been an issue I have spoken to the Minister about several times.”
A change of flight paths in 2012 impacted many families by creating an increase in exposure to airplane noise within the Oakville North-Burlington community. MP Damoff is committed to ensuring Oakville North-Burlington residents’ concerns are heard by those who can implement solutions. “I have heard first-hand about the negative impact on health and peace of mind that excessive aircraft noise has had on our community,” said Pam Damoff, Member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington. “Over the past two years, I have shared residents’ concerns directly with NAV Canada, the body responsible for aircraft navigational routes, and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) to advocate for any viable measure to reduce airplane noise and frequency in Oakville North-Burlington.”
Helios, a company contracted by NAV Canada to conduct a third-party review of Toronto airspace, held a number of public meetings in Oakville over the past year to engage residents in finding a solution to airplane noise. In response to complaints about excessive airplane noise in GTA neighborhoods, Pearson airport installed noise monitoring terminals in various communities, including north Oakville. Oakville’s noise monitoring terminal is live at Glenashton Park and residents can track its live feed on WebTrack at www.torontopearson.com/webtrak. The A320 retrofit was a major recommendation in the Helios airspace review and the GTAA noise management plan.
“I am pleased to see the recommendations made by Helios and the GTAA noise management plan seconded by Minister Garneau,” said MP Damoff.
Damoff adds her voice to the Minister’s in calling on Air Canada to move forward as quickly as possible with this retrofit as an important step in improving the airplane noise issue in her riding.