KLGB has a 10:00 p.m. curfew thanks to a rather contentious ordinance that has been in place for quite some time. Any airline that violates it gets fined and the amounts get progressively higher if there are more than a certain amount within a prescribed time. The City of Long Beach has the option of prosecuting a court action if an airline is too egregious in its actions.
Recently, Jet Blue tried to get the city to approve a customs facility at KLGB but the backwards NIMBYs managed to intimidate the amateur city council members into shelving the idea. The same NIMBYs constantly whine about any and all perceived slights caused by the airport, up to and including just the mere facts it exists, despite the fact if not for the airport and the trade and commerce it has brought in over decades, the city itself would be a vastly different entity. Just last week, a very green city council member proposed upping the fines incurred by the airlines for operating past curfew saying the $178K Jet Blue paid last month wasn’t enough to assuage the fragile psyches of his constituency. The money goes to the city’s library fund and other charities.
So here’s my question- with all that in mind (and Jet Blue is keenly aware of all of it), why in the world would they dispatch a plane from KSFO at 2:00 a.m. to have it land at KLGB at 3:30 a.m., when the airport is closed save for emergencies from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.? Moreover, this plane never got above 8900 feet the entire time. A normal flight from SFO to LGB usually gets to 29,00 feet. This particular plane had sat at SFO since Thursday night before leaving early Saturday morning, so it doesn’t immediately suggest just a late flight. Residents AND the city are already lighting up social media about it and it only landed about four hours ago. What gives here?
Well, that might explain it then. The plane sat at SFO for much longer than it normally would. LGB a is hub for them, so maybe, possibly, flying at that time of night/morning with less air traffic to get it to where it could be repaired was the reason.
Here is a copy of the Long Beach Noise Abatement Rules. Note that the big runway at LGB is open all night long. The airport is not closed. If you can get in or out under the reduced SENEL noise values, have at it. Plenty of aircraft do.
The noise rules were first proposed in 1980, and took effect in 1986, so they have been in effect for 30 years or so. The neighborhoods around the airport have been there for as long as the airport has. Knowing what I know about the neighborhood groups and the airport groups, they have pretty much lived with peaceful co-existence. The airport seems to be in good shape. The neighborhoods around the airport are some of the nicest in Southern California (mostly!) I know the noise rules are contentious, but both of these groups know the value of the airport to the community.
The problem with the Jet Blue customs facility was the stupid secret handling of the whole issue by the airport management and Jet Blue. It would have been a big negative public relations issue for the airport in any case, but to start the negotiations with screaming reports of secret deals with the city and Jet Blue was a mistake of epic proportions. It was a non-starter.
I’m all too familiar with the Long Beach Ordinance. While the runway is open, the mere fact a commercial airliner lands after 10:00 p.m. is cause for an uproar. There is no such animal as peaceful coexistence between the airport and certain factions of residents.
The local airport groups (HUSH, HUSH2) recently bullied the council into shelving the customs facility. By bullied I mean calling council members and staff at all hours of the day and night at work and their homes and even harassing them while out with their families. One council office lost staffers as a result. I was personally threatened and harassed because of posts I made on a social media site supporting the facility.