Message from Vice Chair Libby Garvey Regarding Aircraft Noise

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Thank you for your interest and concern about airplane noise in Arlington. I am writing to provide an update on a few related issues.  

As you know, over a year ago, we agreed to work with our neighbors in Montgomery County (MD) and jointly hire a consultant to help us get good information to advocate for effective noise reduction from flights out of Reagan National Airport (DCA). Coordinating with two different jurisdictions in two states proved much more time consuming than we had hoped, however we are finally very close to hiring that consultant.

Our request for proposals (RFP) for Consulting Services in Support of Study of Aircraft Noise Created by Reagan National Airport Air Traffic in Proximity to Arlington County, Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland and Recommendations for Mitigation, was issued on October 11, 2019 with a due date for proposals of November 13, 2019.

We received a very positive response to the solicitation and our multi-jurisdictional selection advisory committee has been reviewing the proposals received as expeditiously as possible. Although our goal was to complete the evaluation process by the end of the calendar year, the number of competitive proposals that were submitted and the interruption of the holiday season means the process will carry over into the first quarter of calendar year 2020, but not far into the quarter.

One of the selected contractor’s first tasks will be to convene a public meeting to hear from both the Arlington and Montgomery communities about the aircraft noise problem, and their expectations for the study. We expect that meeting to happen during the first quarter of calendar year 2020, following contractor selection and award, contract execution, and issuance of notice to proceed. We will notify you, and the greater Arlington community as soon as we have a date for that public meeting. We appreciate your patience as we conclude the procurement process and move, finally, to formally kick-off the noise study.

There are no new significant accomplishments to report coming out of the DCA Community Working Group (CWG) and no new information on the proposed north-flow departure procedure for Prohibited Area 56 (P-56) avoidance from the Federal Aviation Administration and the United States Secret Service scheduled for implementation next month. As you may know, we believe the proper federal environmental reviews for that proposed new procedure have not been conducted, and we and Congressman Beyer have lodged protests with the FAA.

The next meeting of the CWG has not yet been scheduled but is expected to be on January 24, 2020.

On the national legislative front, on December 17, Congressman Beyer introduced the Cleaner, Quieter Airplanes Act in the United States House of Representatives. A companion bill was previously introduced in the United States Senate by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD). The text of the House bill may be found at the following URL:

A press release from Congressman Beyer’s office accompanying the House bill introduction may be found at the following URL:

A press release from Senator Cardin’s office from the Senate bill introduction may be found at the following URL:

I hope this information has been helpful to you.  Thank you for your patience as we continue to work with this difficult and complex issue that affects so many of our residents.

I wish all of you a happy, healthy, and quiet holiday season and New Year.


Libby Garvey

Vice Chair, Arlington County Board