Airports face many challenging issues. Among those issues is the effect that aircraft noise can have on the communities surrounding an airport. Over the past several decades, as communities around airports grew and air travel expanded, aircraft noise surfaced as a community concern. Reducing the impact of aircraft noise on the community is a goal of the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
The FAA air traffic controllers and the airport staff work closely together to keep runways operating that allow the optimum traffic configuration for noise abatement. This pattern allows most aircraft to arrive and depart using flight paths that take them over the water to the north and west of the airport. This noise abatement pattern is in use most of the time. Weather conditions or a runway closure may force aircraft to be routed over the populated portions of Anchorage to the south and east of the airport. For instance, when winds aloft come in strong from the south, the traffic pattern will include departures to the south over populated areas. Winds aloft, where the aircraft are, may be significant while relatively calm on the ground.
Runway closures are normally for periodic runway maintenance actions such as crack sealing, painting, lighting repairs, and inspections. The airport will only plan closures of runways during normal daytime hours. However, unplanned closures may occur at any time, caused by circumstances such as emergency runway repairs, aircraft incidents, snow removal, or ice control. When the north-south runway is closed, flight departures are routed to the east over populated areas.
Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study
Airport noise compatibility planning focuses on reducing existing non-compatible land uses around airports and preventing the introduction of new non-compatible land uses. As part of this effort, the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport has initiated the process of conducting a Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study Update.
A Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study is a voluntary noise exposure and land use compatibility study prepared by an airport to identify existing noise exposure, identify potential future noise exposure, to evaluate various alternatives, and to make recommendations as to viable noise abatement/mitigation measures.