Van Nuys Airport is one of the busiest general aviation airports in the world, and it could soon become even busier with a proposed expansion.
The 730-acre airfield, which is one of the heaviest trafficked airfields of its size and the busiest for private jets in the greater Los Angeles area, currently does not have scheduled flights, meaning that planes can take off and land at any time during any day.
According to airport officials, a jet takes off or lands once every seven minutes, and while there are recommended “quiet hours” between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., the recommendations are largely ignored.
It’s starting to become a point of contention with community members who live near the airport, who say its adverse effects outweigh the benefits an expansion would bring.
“We can’t breathe oftentimes, the fumes are so bad,” said Sue Steinberg, who lives near the airport and attended the Van Nuys City Council meeting on Thursday to voice her concerns about the airport’s potential growth. “The community doesn’t want all those private jets so the one percent can fly out of a convenient location…it’s not convenient when you can’t breathe.”
However, not all are opposed to expanding the busy airfield.
“Van Nuys Airport is an economic driver for the city,” said President of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association Stuart Waldman. “It brings in over two billion dollars to the city, [creates] over ten-thousand jobs and is a big supporter of the community.”
Residents are steadfast in their belief that the airport should not be expanded, as they say that the noise and environmental impacts it has are overwhelming.
A follow-up meeting will take place on March 7 at 7 p.m. at the FlyAway Terminal on Woodley Avenue.