Aviation Noise:

Costs of Phasing Out Noisy Aircraft

RCED-91-128: Published: Jul 2, 1991. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the economic impact of noise abatement measures on the aviation industry.

GAO found that: (1) the passage of the Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA) may discourage some airports from adopting their own noise restrictions, since it requires that new Stage 3 aircraft restrictions not voluntarily agreed to by aircraft operators be approved by the Secretary of Transportation and reduces the need for such by requiring the phase out of older, noisier Stage 2 aircraft; (2) the independent, uncoordinated adoption of noise restrictions by airports will likely impose costs on airlines; (3) ANCA requires that airports conduct cost-benefit analyses and provide an opportunity for public comment on such restrictions; (4) in the absence of any additional airport restrictions, phasing out Stage 2 aircraft by 2000 will cost about $2 billion if each airline adopts the lowest cost method of meeting the required Stage 3 standards; (5) until the end of 2003, the Secretary of Transportation, under certain conditions, has the discretion to waive compliance with the Stage 2 phaseout for up to 15 percent of each airline's fleet; and (6) if waivers are granted, costs to the airline industry could be reduced by as much as $100 million since airlines will not have to make expenditures to replace or retrofit aircraft as soon.

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