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The O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC) has voted to approve a new Fly Quiet Program at a special meeting on August 17, 2022. The recommended nighttime runway rotation program was developed by the 11-member ONCC Fly Quiet Committee.

The new Fly Quiet plan features six runway configurations that alternate weeks from the north airfield to the south airfield and air traffic flow from east to west to balance nighttime noise impacts, avoid consecutive impacts, and offer predictability to communities located within the O’Hare region. In addition to approving the plan with nighttime primary and secondary runway headings and long runway designations, the committee also established operational, procedural, and implementation recommendations.

The original Fly Quiet Program, in place since 1997, has become obsolete due to the O’Hare Modernization Program, which completely reconfigured the airfield by deactivating runways, adding new parallel runways, and extending existing runways.

“The Fly Quiet Committee has been meeting and developing this plan for the past seven years and voted to advance the plan in June,” said Joseph Annunzio, ONCC Chair and representative for the Village of Niles. “I am very proud of the work the Committee has done in a collaborative and cooperative spirit. The goal of the program was to achieve balance and fairness for the residents around O’Hare – I believe the Committee has accomplished that with this plan.”

Now that the plan has been approved by the ONCC, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) will assemble the proposal for review by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“It was our top priority to spell out every detail of the program to ensure that we were implementing the best practices available for safety and efficiency while assuring residents surrounding O’Hare that they would experience predictability with quieter evenings,” said Karyn Robles, Fly Quiet Committee Chair and Schaumburg Director of Transportation.

Once the recommended Fly Quiet Program is approved by the FAA and implemented, the ONCC will work closely with the CDA, the FAA, and other stakeholders to ensure the program offers transparency and accountability.

“On behalf of CDA, we are ready to work with the FAA as it conducts its regulatory review of this new Fly Quiet program," said CDA Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee. "For decades, the ONCC has served as a model for airports worldwide to be good neighbors and engage with their surrounding communities, and we look forward to continuing that work in the years ahead."

Among the committee’s recommendations were that outreach materials be provided to the FAA, airlines, and communities about program changes; regular program updates including a dedicated website, schedules, and construction alternatives; that the Chicago Department of Aviation seek funding for sound insulation to mitigate noise to impacted residents and students; and that the ONCC, CDA, and FAA meet regularly to discuss program accomplishments, issues, and potential enhancements, and to participate in annual audits conducted by the Fly Quiet Committee.

The Fly Quiet Committee is chaired by Karyn Robles, Transportation Director for the Village of Schaumburg. Alderman Bob Dunn of Elmhurst served as Vice-Chair.

Committee members include ONCC members representing the four quadrants surrounding the airport: Village of Bensenville, Chicago Ward 39, City of Elmhurst, City of Des Plaines, Village of Harwood Heights, Village of Niles, City of Park Ridge, Village of River Grove, Village of Schaumburg, Village of Schiller Park, and City of Wood Dale. Non-voting members included representatives from the Suburban O’Hare Commission (SOC) and Fair Allocation in Runways (FAiR).

The ONCC, an intergovernmental agency committed to reducing aircraft noise in communities near O’Hare, is composed of representatives from 43 communities in Chicago and suburban Cook and DuPage counties, as well as 19 school districts. The organization strives to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on surrounding neighborhoods of Chicago O’Hare International Airport through home and school sound insulation, and to reduce aircraft noise at its source whenever possible.