5/5/2022 - City Officials Demand Answers, Action on Teterboro Airport Flight Plan

City officials are demanding answers and solutions from the Federal Aviation Administration and Teterboro Airport after newly released data showed that updated flight patterns designed to protect Hackensack from noise and safety concerns are not being used by pilots. City officials have fought for nearly a decade to create the new flight path that diverts planes away from densely populated areas, Prospect Avenue highrises and Hackensack University Medical Center. This battle was seemingly won in July of 2021 as the FAA made a new flight pattern available directing traffic over Route 17, however, at the Q1 2022 meeting of Teterboro Airport Noise Abatement Advisory Committee (TANAAC) last week, a presentation revealed that the new flight pattern is not being utilized by aircraft, and noise pollution has also increased from the previous year.

The approach to Runway 19 at Teterboro Airport flies directly over Prospect Avenue and Hackensack University Medical Center, and it is the most frequently used runway at Teterboro airport. In Q1 of 2022, there were 18,107 arrivals at the airport, and 9,342 or 51.59%, used Runway 19. The low-flying planes making their approach to this runaway cause significant noise pollution and disturbances for residents and school children of Hackensack, nearing dangerous levels. The average aircraft sound level at a Prospect Avenue sound monitor in 2022 was 60.6 decibels, a +3.4 increase from 2021 and a +1.6 increase from 2019. There were also 947 registered aircraft noise complaints in Hackensack alone in Q1 of 2022. 

Deputy Mayor Kathy Canestrino, the City’s liaison to TANAAC, said, “City residents, including myself, have dealt with the noise pollution from airplanes flying into Teterboro for far too long. This is not only affecting our quality of life, it’s affecting our children’s ability to learn. Things have become so bad at the Hillers School that teachers say they must teach with the windows closed due to the constant noise. Years ago, the airport replaced windows and provided air-conditioning to Jackson Ave School due to the constant aircraft noise and should be doing the same to Hillers School. The taxpayers of Hackensack should not be responsible for this and our children’s education should not be affected by noise that can easily be avoided.”

After nearly a decade of advocacy and fighting for a new flight pattern by City officials and residents, in July 2021, FAA officials trained air traffic controllers on a new flight pattern into the airport. The RNAV GPS X Offset approach automatically uses GPS to create a different flyover approach to Teterboro airport. Instead of flying over Prospect Avenue and other residential neighborhoods in Hackensack, the pilots are directed to fly over Rt. 17. However, the data presented at the TANAAC meeting last week clearly showed the flight pattern is not being utilized. 

24 Hour Arrivals on Runway 19

Total Arrivals

RNAV GPS X Offset Approach Arrivals

% RNAV GPS X Offset Approach Arrivals

Q3 2021

12,734

120

.94%

Q4 2021

13,104

21

.16%

Q1 2022

8,965

79

.88%

Night-time (10PM-7PM) Arrivals on Runway 19

Total Arrivals

RNAV GPS X Offset Approach Arrivals

% RNAV GPS X Offset Approach Arrivals

Q3 2021

1,216

115

9.46%

Q4 2021

1,129

8

.71%

Q1 2022

767

76

9.91%

“Why this approach is still only being used less than 1% of the time is simply mind-boggling to me,” said Canestrino. "We need some answers from the FAA and Teterboro Airport on why the new approach is being ignored and what they will do to encourage pilots to use it in the future. We also want to thank the residents who’ve called in to register complaints. Complaints are the only way to monitor how the airport affects the local quality of life, so please keep calling.”

The City is calling for the following questions to be answered by the FAA and Teterboro and solutions presented at the next TANAAC meeting:

  • Specific answers to why the offset RNAV GPS X Offset approach is not the preferred flight pattern/plan for arrival to Runway 19 under good weather conditions.
  • Why the airport doesn’t advertise the new flight plan during daytime hours as they do at night? At least there is some nighttime usage compared to the daytime usage.
  • What is happening at night that is causing the 9% increase in the use of the new flight pattern?
  • Investigation of registered complaints by Teterboro Airport/FAA; presentation of specific investigations of noise complaints and demonstration of corrective action or fines. 
  • Teterboro airport to pay for the cost of Hillers school repairs for noise pollution. 

Residents can complain about airport noise online or by telephone at 201-288-8828 (or Toll Free at 800-225-1071) or by email: noiseoffice@teb.com. The Teterboro Noise Complaint Department should acknowledge all complaints. If you do not receive an acknowledgment, please contact the Teterboro Noise Abatement Advisory Committee (TANAAC) at 201-641-9339.