What do you get when you combine people with too much money and a small airport that happens to be near a city that’s a haven for the people with too much money? Pollution, causing the suffering of nearby residents of LA’s Van Nuys Airport, the LA Times reports.
Residents living near the airport have dealt with an increase in private jet travel, especially since the start of the pandemic. Data from aerospace information firm WingX shows that Van Nuys Airport has seen a 17 percent increase in private jet flights in 2022 from the same time in 2021. So many rich people are flying out of Van Nuys that the small airport accounted for “30% of all private jet operations in LA, Ventura, Orange and Riverside counties.” The airport had 69,907 private jet flights last year, some 200 flights per day. And local residents are suffering because of it.
The airport’s location is a large part of the equation. Van Nuys sits in the San Fernando Valley, surrounded by mountains. And as the LA Times put it, its a hot bowl — so the pollution collects. Then add on the increase of flights leaving and arriving, putting enough jet fuel into the air that residents can smell it. One individual told the Times she doesn’t let her son play outside because of the potent fumes.
Then there’s the noise pollution — so bad that residents say it can interrupt regular conversation in the area. Flights fly out of the airport at all times of the day and night. The airport supposedly has what’s described as a “quieter nights program” that’s supposed to limit flights between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. But local residents say that the program is mostly ignored.
Residents want action to be taken seeking everything from air quality studies to environmental buffers. But local officials are dragging their feet in actually taking action or doing anything, like a master plan to rezone land for the airport has been in the works for the past 20 years. A spokesperson for Los Angeles World Airports says that the planning “horizon is just beginning now,” after 20 years.
Until something is done, residents surrounding Van Nuys Airport will just have to deal with rich people constantly flying in and out. Some neighborhood residents have a saying: “We die so the 1% can fly!” That speaks volumes.
You can read the entirety of Los Angeles Times article, here.