The November 7 Sun-Times article, “City examining changes to O’Hare jet noise complaint process, ”cited an O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission member’s call for a return to the original purpose of the O’Hare aircraft noise complaint system—to investigate specific aircraft noise outlier situations, not to tabulate levels of resident frustration and anger.

As ONCC chair, I want to assure residents that ONCC remains committed to mitigate aircraft noise wherever and whenever possible at its source. At the Nov. 6 ONCC meeting the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) stated it will re-examine how noise data are collected and the process by which resident concerns are reported and classified. This reevaluation will better enable us to separate and analyze specific instances where air traffic behavior outliers can be addressed with the airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

ONCC is working to internalize among pilots and others that O’Hare noise abatement procedures must be taken seriously. We do not intend to silence the public, rather to better identify instances where airlines can take corrective action.

As to the larger issue of addressing airport noise under the current interim runway condition, the ONCC-sponsored ad hoc Fly Quiet Committee has just begun its task to create a workable proposal to equitably deal with airport noise prior to full O'Hare buildout. We are expecting a significant piece of analysis from the CDA, under the direction of Commissioner Ginger S. Evans, and are optimistic that the committee will develop and present solid proposals first to ONCC, then CDA, and lastly to the FAA for review and approval.

We hope to engage all involved parties in this effort, including the public as represented by their elected and appointed ONCC representatives, CDA, airlines, pilots, FAA and air traffic controllers. Factor in customer expectations regarding flight frequency and schedules and the enormity of the undertaking is apparent.

Ultimately, the FAA has the final word and we are in the process of building a case for change. 

Arlene A. Juracek
Mayor of Mount Prospect
ONCC Chair