The San Diego International Airport is conveniently located to many San Diego residents and businesses. Even though the location is convenient it does create some inherent challenges for those who live and work near the Airport.
SAN along with the airlines, the FAA and Air Traffic Control (ATC) strive to balance the needs of the community with those of the passengers of SAN. Even though we do not dictate the flight path (that’s the responsibility of the FAA and ATC) or fly the planes (that’s the airlines), it is our job to act as an intermediary between all parties fostering transparency in airport operations over the communities surrounding the airport.
The following pages are meant to help explain Airport Noise Mitigation's role in these tasks and what we are doing to help reduce noise in the community.
“The Curfew” is a part of the Airport Use Regulations, formally adopted as SDCRAA Code 9.40, Airport Use Regulations. In the simplest of terms, “The Curfew” is the Time of Day Restrictions that limits nighttime aircraft departures.
The following text has been excerpted from the Airport Use Regulations. If you have any questions or concerns regarding these regulations, please contact Airport Noise Mitigation at (619) 400-2789, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. During all other times, please call (619) 400-2799.
Additionally, a multiplier may be added to reflect the multiple number of violations during the previous compliance period. After the 3rd (or more) offense, the operating privileges of any operator may be terminated, or limited, on such terms and conditions, and for such period of time, as the Authority Board determines is appropriate.
Learn More about the Curfew Violation Review Panel (CVRP)
What are the air traffic control procedures at San Diego International Airport (SAN)?
SAN has only one runway, requiring aircraft to depart to the west, or the east, depending on the surface wind direction. Prevailing westerly winds dictate that aircraft arrive using Runway 27 (over Balboa Park) approximately 97% of the time. This requires aircraft to depart westerly over Ocean Beach. Easterly arrivals and departures (over Balboa Park) occur less than 3% of the time (usually during periods of Santa Ana type winds or inclement weather). Air carrier aircraft departing SAN to the west are normally assigned by FAA ATC personnel one of two Standard Instrument Departure (SID) procedures depending on their departure destination. For example, for Runway 27 departures, aircraft departing to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and airports west and northwest of San Diego, aircraft are usually assigned an initial departure procedure to make a “right turn” of approximately 15 degrees after takeoff. Aircraft destined for Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, and airports south and east of San Diego are usually assigned an initial departure procedure to go “straight out”. The number of aircraft using each procedure varies depending on airline schedules and FAA air traffic controllers’ discretions, but historically has often been close to a 50/50 split. While there are navigational aids assisting the pilots in maintaining their flight routes, winds can still cause shifts in the departure routes.
FAR Part 150
14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 150, Airport Noise Compatibility Planning, was issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a final rule in January 1985. 14 CFR Part 150 sets forth the methodology and procedures to be followed when preparing aircraft noise exposure maps and developing airport /airport environs land use compatibility programs.
14 CFR Part 150 studies typically consist of two primary components: (1) the Noise Exposure Map (NEM) report which contains detailed information regarding existing and 5-year future airport/aircraft noise exposure patterns, and (2) the Noise Compatibility Program (NCP) report which includes descriptions and an evaluation of noise abatement and noise mitigation options/programs applicable to an airport.
The Airport Authority is in the process of updating the Part 150 including new NEMs and an update to the NCP. As part of this effort, a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) have been established to review information and provide input on the study update.
Information from these meetings is provided below.
Citizen Advisory Committee Membership
Citizen Advisory Committee Meeting #1 – Presentation
Technical Advisory Committee Meeting #1 – Presentation
The Quarterly Noise Report details the noise activities at the San Diego International Airport. Information includes statistical summaries, aircraft noise measurements, information on airport operations, noise complaint statistics, enforcement actions, reports on the residential sound insulation program and information about the Airport Noise Advisory Committee.
A variance is required by the California Department of Transportation when there are areas surrounding the San Diego International Airport that are impacted by more than 65 dBs of noise. Therefore, in order to maintain operations the San Diego International Airport must have conditions in place in order to reduce noise impacts to those in areas above 65 dBs of noise.
Click here for the current San Diego International Airport’s Variance.
Variance Application Acceptance From Caltrans.