SOUTH PORTLAND — The noise pollution being caused by inbound flights that fly over South Portland to the Portland International Jetport has to stop. Loud jets buzz our houses day and night in the Meeting House Hill, Lovett’s Field, Ferry Village and Knightville neighborhoods.

I have read six years of minutes from the Jetport Noise Abatement Committee meeting archives, and it is clear that jetport management and local Federal Aviation Administration officials have done next to nothing about the ongoing noise complaints from South Portland citizens over the many years. Inbound flights used to arrive by going out over the coastline and islands, and then steer down the Fore River. This changed some years ago, and jetport management, the FAA, airlines and the city of Portland have continued to allow pilots to fly over our neighborhoods at low altitudes. Pilots have admitted they can shave a minute or two off of their flight times by shortcutting over our properties.

It is understandable that pilots do not want to use the river approach during foul weather, but the current flight path over South Portland is constantly used in clear weather. Flights are so low I can read the airline numbers under the planes. Between 60 percent and 70 percent of all noise complaints come from South Portland residents, and the problem has only worsened with the jetport’s growth and added flights.

I logged a number of complaints this winter using the jetport online complaint form. I never heard back from any jetport official, and flights have continued to harass our neighborhoods. The complaint form is worthless if nothing is done about the complaints, and only serves to demean the people who take the time to properly complain. It is disappointing to see a local institution behave so cynically.

The Jetport Noise Abatement Committee appears to be nothing but a government-corporate whitewash. The airport has publicly detailed no concrete plans over the past six years to deal with this burgeoning problem. Portland and South Portland have always had a good relationship, but in this case it is wearing thin. Residents of South Portland are sick of hearing loud flights over our houses day and night. If the jetport thinks this is not a big issue, why not redirect flights over Falmouth and the Portland peninsula for a few years and see how well that is received?

One of the reasons we have lived in South Portland for the past 35 years is our clean environment and healthy way of life. The jetport is disrespecting the citizens of South Portland and our right to quiet living, free from excessive noise pollution. Studies have shown airline noise pollution causes stress, anxiety, sleeplessness and depressed home values.

South Portland residents have successfully stopped Big Oil, Big AirbnB and Big Chemical lawn companies. All of these actions were taken to ensure a healthy, peaceful standard of living. The jetport needs to consider the potential costs of a citizen-initiated lawsuit to stop this noise pollution from Big Corporate Airlines. South Portland citizens will take matters into their own hands if government fails to act.

The jetport manager, Paul Bradbury, recently wrote a commentary for the Portland Press Herald asking for more support from our communities to fuel their expansion. I think all of the surrounding communities shouldn’t give the jetport another dime until Mr. Bradbury resolves this flight-path problem, and Portland should discontinue any proposed expansion of flights until the jetport can become a good corporate neighbor. Many communities around the country have demanded flight path changes and altitude restrictions because their local airports have also abused their privilege to operate as a good neighbor.

While I have written this column, five flights have gone over our neighborhood.


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