Noise Complaints Matter

The issue of airport noise from San Carlos is not resolved.   Surf Air continues to partner with Advanced Air to fly in and out of KSQL under the WSN identifier on Flightaware.    Their only limitations are the number of tickets they can sell.  The airport exerts no control over their number of flights, the (lack of ) security, the flight paths, and so on.  They are keeping track of our noise complaints.  We continue to try to engage the County to control the noise and the airport.

There are several options to make a noise complaint.

Article reprinted by permission by Harvey Radin

More Than 96,000 Complaints, So Far

by Harvey Radin

There have been more than 96,000 complaints, so far, from people worrying about powerful aircraft over neighborhoods, 20 miles, or so, north of San Jose, California. When you file a complaint on the San Mateo County Airports website, you get a response that begins with “Thank You!” – in big type. You’re told your complaint will be “logged into” the “noise complaint management system database, and it will be “reviewed, analyzed and reported to airport management.”

If you happen to complain directly to airport management, let’s say by email, management often includes a “Thank You” in its reply, even when they’re, perhaps, not easing your concerns about powerful aircraft overhead, at all hours, most days.

Last year, I wrote an article in the Las Vegas Business Press about emerging, often disruptive, business models, including a subscription airline flying passengers out of small, general aviation airports. The airline has been operating from several airports in California and elsewhere, including the San Carlos Airport in San Mateo County. A local newspaper, the Daily Post, had reported that some people along the airline’s flight path “can no longer have conversations in their homes because of the planes.” More passenger airlines and air charter companies have been flying out of the small airport since the subscription airline first landed there more than six years ago.

Complaints about noise and safety have been mounting. There have been public hearings over the years. There was even a demonstration at the airport. Local government and the FAA have been evaluating things, but not all that much has changed over the years. A growing number of powerful, multi-passenger aircraft are still overhead, worrying people on the ground.

Those big thank yous from the county and airport management, while nice and polite, are what they are. From August 2016 to mid-July this year, more than 1,700 complaints per month were filed on the San Mateo County Airports website, if our math is correct. How does this monthly number of complaints compare to other things people complain about?

Well, several years ago, NBC News, in a story about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), reported on banking customer complaints. The story, in September 2016, noted that since March 2012, the CFPB had handled approximately 94,000 “bank-related complaints.” Based on a three-month rolling average, referenced in the story, CFPB was getting 1,890 complaints from bank customers. Interesting, isn’t it, that the numbers aren’t that far apart. Bank customers had filed 1,890 monthly complaints, and people concerned about aircraft safety and noise had filed more than 1,700 complaints per month. Even more interesting, looking at those numbers, the 1,800-plus complaints were being filed by bank customers, nationwide, while people from only seven, or so, communities in northern California were filing the 1,700-plus complaints about powerful, disturbing aircraft.