Southwest Tells Love Field Neighbors it Hears Them

Southwest officials told Love Field neighbors that they would remind pilots not to use the Lemmon Avenue runway from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. (Staff photo:  Andrew Buckley)

Southwest officials told Love Field neighbors that they would remind pilots not to use the Lemmon Avenue runway from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. (Staff photo: Andrew Buckley)

Neighbors weren’t buying what Southwest Airlines officials had to say at the Love Field Environmental Advisory Committee meeting on July 11.

The quarterly gathering usually doesn’t draw much attention, but this year’s noise complaints caused the turnout to skyrocket.

Community officials including Highland Park Mayor Joel Williams and new City Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates were among the many attendees.

“You’re my customers,” vice president of airport affairs Bob Montgomery said on the noise abatement issues. “It causes us a great deal of angst when we cause you angst.”

The Lemmon Avenue runway reopened after construction in April, and the new terminal opened in the same month. Coincidently, construction around the terminal makes it hard for pilots to access the Denton Drive runway, so the normal Denton-to-Lemmon ratio of 70/30 was thrown off drastically.

“Safety and efficiency is the most important thing for the FAA and for us,” Dallas director of aviation Mark Duebner said.

When the shift in balance hit, the complaints went up — drastically. Southwest told the crowd that they had distributed a “read before fly” to pilots, asking that they not use the Lemmon Avenue runway from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Laughter and scoffs broke out in the audience.

Up until April, pilot compliance with the voluntary program was about where Southwest wants it — at 80 percent or higher. Since then, the numbers have been painfully low.

Montgomery argued that when construction finishes in time to lift the Wright Amendment in October 2014, the airport will seek a 50/50 balance between the runways. But that itself raises concerns for some, because officials are not yet releasing estimates on post-ban flight volume.

“Is it the case that … a 50/50 goal is purely about Southwest economics and not about safety?” Greenway Park resident Bill Lockhart asked.

The discussion went on for two hours, with officials and residents growing weary. With all the pending developments, it seemed too early to tell if the next meeting, scheduled for Oct. 10, will create as much stir.

“There’s not an easy solution,” Preston Hollow resident Robert Galecke said.

By Sarah Bennett Jul. 18, 2013 | 10:01 am | 7 Comments | Comments RSS
  • Neal

    “Is it the case that … a 50/50 goal is purely about Southwest economics and not about safety?” Greenway Park resident Bill Lockhart asked.

    The location of the runways has nothing to do with the safety of neighborhoods east of the airport, but look for the anti-noise people to start talking about “safety” more and more.

  • XT

    Good call out Neal, that safety comment is a crock.

  • Sam Tamborello

    So…, after reading the article above I’m wondering why Mayor Williams simply didn’t pick the phone up and set a meeting with LUV’s Mr. Montgomery, one on one. Showing up at a public meeting with a Posse and hissing at Southwest is brow raising. And I say this respectfully and without chuckling.

    Seems like Southwest and Mr. Montgomery are at least making an effort. I’m not saying the noise doesn’t exist. Sure it does. I’ve lived in the West side of HP for over a decade. Funny thing, I think it’s less now than when the AA jets were flying. Wow!

    Mayor Williams, if you complain about Southwest, then tell us how many meetings you have been regarding the constant racket from the NTTA (the tollway). The loud motorcycles, 18 wheelers, and what about the private jets you complained about during the mayoral election. They fly directly over HP unlike Southwest. How many folks in HP own a private jet? Talking about loud. It doesn’t bother me, but you need to be fair. One last thought, what about the US Airforce plane that buzzes HP, the only one I’ve ever seen in it’s size category to do this. Hey, I’m glad we have our military. Many thanks to those brave men and women.

    So Mayor, no disrespect, but noise is everywhere.

    Best wishes

  • None

    Would be interesting to do an IP trace on these comments and see how many of the anti-HP comments could be attributed to SWA marketing, or a firm they hired to plant them…not sure who in their right mind likes to defend noise pollution. Only people paid to do so!

  • XT

    I certainly don’t work for SWA, and think the noise issue is real, and if I lived there I’d complain too. But the safety claims? C’mon, that’s just weak.

  • Neal

    @None:

    I don’t work for SWA either. The noise doesn’t bother me. Maybe it bothers other people and if they want to complain about it, then good for them especially if they get results. But what I won’t tolerate is hysteria and hyperbole from people who know better, whether we’re talking about Love Field, the Chase building, tennis courts, the YMCA, alcohol sales in University Park, or autism charities run by crazy people.

    That’s why I rolled my eyes – figuratively speaking – at this sudden concern about “safety”. The only potential safety issue I can think of is a plane, God forbid, plunging into Highland Park after takeoff. Obviously, the chance of that happening is vanishingly small. But what really gets me is this: if you’re demanding that Southwest use the southern runway because you’re worried about a plane crashing into your house, are you saying that it’s preferable that a 737 crashes into the apartments and offices in Uptown rather than into Highland Park? Of course not, because safety isn’t a real concern here, and to claim otherwise is just dishonest.

  • Sam Tamborello

    Kind of funny that HP administration demanded approx. $96 from me to obtain a copy of airplane noise complaints made to HP townhall. The one complaint that stuck out the most was something about a helicopter hovering over their home? This is what HP is expending $4000 a month on for a legal advisor? Heck, if some folks on the HP town council did not take the Rooster approach, then we could have had better results earlier on.

    By the way, a big thank you to Southwest Airlines for working with the neighbors. See, HP didn’t need to hire a legal advisor. And Mayor Williams, I think a better approach should have been thought through.

    Read the VERY interesting investigation article by channel 11 news. Have a great day!

    http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2013/09/25/i-team-runway-use-generating-noise-complaints-at-dallas-love-field/

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