FAiR citizens’ movement in Chicago wins the right to take part in talks on flight paths

O’Hare airport in Chicago has 10 runways. The local campaign group, FAiR (Fair Allocation in Runways) has been campaigning for some time for all the diagonal runways to be used, in order to distribute the noise more fairly over surrounding areas. Now FAiR has won the right to have a seat at the table in talks about the noise problem with Illinois State and Chicago City officials and the FAA. A new Joint House Resolution also acknowledges the validity of city and suburban residents’ complaints about the drastic increase in planes, noise and pollution since the October 2013 changes in flight patterns and runway usage at the airport – due to NextGen (the US equivalent of PBN and concentrated flight paths that are becoming a serious problem in the UK). In addition, the resolution calls for the city to ask the FAA to delay any action regarding the diagonal runways due to be decommissioned until all hearings and meetings are completed. They also want the FAA to hold meetings about the aircraft noise problem in the areas newly impacted by the October 2013 changes. FAiR say the only three previous hearings on the O’Hare Modernization Plan held in 2005 were intentionally conducted outside the noise contour area and were minimally announced to the public.


FAiR’s Citizen­ Led Movement Succeeds Again!

1.6.2015 (FAiR – Fair Allocation in  Runways, in Chicago – near O’Hare airport)

FAiR is a coalition of community organizations dedicated to the equitable distribution of O’Hare aircraft traffic.

FAiR Has Achieved Its Main Demand and Will Have a Seat at Table with City, FAA and Elected Officials

Following on the heels of the passage of its legislation in Senate Bill 636 last week in the Illinois Legislature,the Fair Allocation in Runways (FAiR) Coalition is now pleased to announce the passage this week of House Joint Resolution 0083 (HJR83,view it at www.ilga.gov), which finally provides FAiR the seat at the table it has sought since its inception and also acknowledges the validity of city and suburban residents’ complaints
about the drastic increase in planes, noise and pollution since the October 2013 changes in flight patterns and runway usage at O’Hare airport.

HJR83 calls for three additional meetings to be held by August 2015 to assess the impact so far of the O’Hare Modernization Plan (OMP) and guarantees that FAiR will have an
equal seat at the table in those discussions with the Chicago Department of Aviation, the FAA, the Mayor’s Office and State elected legislative leaders.

In addition, the resolution calls for the city to ask the FAA to delay any action regarding the diagonal runways due to be decommissioned until all hearings and meetings are completed, and asks that the FAA hold its already­ announced four hearings also on the noise impact of the OMP only in areas newly impacted by the October 2013 changes.

This is critical, as FAiR alleged and a Sun­Times investigation revealed that the only three previous hearings on OMP held in 2005 were intentionally conducted outside of the noise contour area and were minimally announced to the public.

“This is a huge, huge victory for everyone in both the city and suburbs whose quality of life has been diminished by the massive increase in planes, noise and pollution.” said Jac Charlier, FAiR Co­Founder.  “We’ve built FAiR into the largest citizen ­led civic movement around and it has a tremendous voice. Very special thanks to to Senator Mulroe and Representative Martwick, who pushed so hard for their constituents and all those impacted by O’Hare. They did not give up when SB637 got stalled and came up with an alternate solution.”

He added that, “The citizens will finally have the seat at the table that they have been
asking for and that they rightly deserve. We can finally have the community conversation we knew needed to take place before major decisions about O’Hare are ever made again. This coming together of citizens, communities, elected officials is exactly what we’ve been working towards to find solutions that balance the importance of O’Hare with the needs of the neighborhoods and their people.”

FAiR has always maintained that keeping all diagonal runways open and operational would provide many options for solutions to the high concentration of planes, noise and pollution over a narrow band of dense residential areas east and west of the airport.

Since 2013, FAiR was told repeatedly by the CDA’s former commissioner that state law prohibited more than eight runways at the airport. FAiR launched its “Save the Diagonals” campaign earlier this spring seeking to change that state law.

In early April Senator John Mulroe (D­10th) met with FAiR and subsequently introduced two bills: SB 636, which called for increasing the total number of runways allowable at O’Hare Airport from 8 to 10, and SB 637, which would have prohibited the decommissioning of the diagonal runways and mandate that they be maintained for equitably distributing air traffic around O’Hare.

SB 636, with an amendment added by Rep. Marty Moylan (D­55th) calling for stricter noise measurements, passed both chambers of the Illinois Legislature and now awaits the Governor’s signature.

SB 637 ran into difficulty regarding the question of which entities may make decisions about runways at O’Hare and ultimately was not passed. The joint resolution, sponsored by Rep. Robert Martwick (D­19th) in the House and Sen. John Mulroe in the Senate, clarifies that only the FAA and City of Chicago may make those decisions, and calls for a pause in further runway projects until the impact on residents can be fully assessed.

“I’m relieved the diagonals will remain in place while the meetings take place. I’m heartened that the city is finally going to meet with FAiR,” said Colleen Mulcrone, Leadership Team member. “So many elected officials, when we met with them about this issue, were eager to be supportive when they realized the drastic impact on residents … Senator Mulroe, Rep. Moylan, Rep. Martwick, Congresswoman Duckworth and Congressman Quigley, who himself has spoken loudly on this issue …I’m so grateful for their leadership and action. Now that it’s finally clear that the city has the authority to make decisions about the runways, I’m
eager for FAiR to meet with them to talk about solutions, and hopeful for a good outcome for all of our communities.”




The Fair Allocation in Runways (FAiR) Coalition is a rapidly growing movement of citizens and civics on Chicago’s Northwest side and the near Northwest suburbs.

FAiR is the leading voice for both city and suburban residents negatively impacted by the new runway takeoff and landing patterns. FAiR supports the economic engine that is
O’Hare while also seeking a real role in when and where those engines fly over the residents, homes, parks and schools of impacted communities. FAiR recognizes that two more runways are yet to be completed and the problems posed by yet more massive increases in airplane traffic will only become worse if citizens do not have a voice in the process.
FAiR requests residents report airplane noise complaints online throughout the day at www.fairchicago.org or 800­435­9569. Citizens and civic organizations are invited to learn more about and join FAiR at www.fairchicago.org. 

FAiR is also on Facebook

FAiR is also on Twitter 


See earlier:

Illinois State Senate passes bills designed to reduce O’Hare jet noise

In late 2013 the flight paths at Chicago O’Hare airport were changed, and since then thousands of residents have been exposed to far more aircraft noise. The authorities are trying to find ways to reduce their noise exposure.  The Illinois Senate has now unanimously approved legislation to mitigate jet noise by increasing the cap on the number of runways to 10 from 8, and prohibiting the city of Chicago from closing and demolishing any of the airport’s 4 diagonal runways. The aim is to distribute the noise more evenly. The two bills are aimed at expanding O’Hare flight paths are going next to the Illinois House of Representatives for consideration.  If one of the diagonal runways is closed, its flights will be distributed to the other runways, causing more noise for some people. Keeping 10 runways operational at O’Hare would increase maintenance costs. And while all 10 runways would never be used simultaneously, the more complex airfield layout could create safety risks involving more planes taxiing across runways on their way to the gate or other runways. Noise complaints filed online and to a city-operated hot line totalled 39,500 in January, setting a new monthly record.  In 2014, for the whole year, noise complaints totalled 268,211, also an all-time high.





Chicago voters get chance to be heard in public ballot on O’Hare airport noise problem

Chicago O’Hare airport has a new 4th runway that opened in October 2013 as well another new 5th runway that is due to open in late 2015. Others are planned. Since the start of 2014 there has been a distinct change in the flight paths, and huge opposition to the change. The number of complaints to the airport have risen sharply, month after month. However (and how often this has been heard from UK airports too) the authorities claim the numbers are false, as some people complain multiple times. This masks the fact that some don’t complain at all, being unsure how to, and being unconvinced that the airport will take any notice whatsoever. There is now a ballot of residents in 7 affected suburbs of Chicago, but all such referendums in Illinois are only “advisory.”  The questions being asked are on whether the FAA should create and enforce mandatory “fly-quiet” hours around O’Hare. The restrictions would replace the existing voluntary guidelines that ask airlines and pilots to try to reduce noise impacts after 10 pm. Another asks if aircraft noise should be reduced after 7pm,  and people are also asked about more noise insulation being available.  Airport had about 66.9 million passengers in 2013.  Chicago O’Hare on Wikipedia.





Chicago O’Hare airport new runway & flightpaths creating huge opposition by those now over-flown

Chicago O’Hare airport currently has many runways but not all can be used simultaneously. The airport has been building more, reducing the lengths of others, to get three parallel runways can be used together. There has been a lot of controversy about the plans over many years, with compulsory purchase of land, from residents who did not want to move.  There is now huge protest against the noise. A group representing city and suburban home-owners, the Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition (FAiR), is asking the Chicago Aviation Commissioner to resign or for the Mayor to fire her.  FAiR say there is  “mounting frustration over the lack of response from the Mayor on possible remedies concerning “the ceaseless airplane noise” since air-traffic patterns were changed last autumn.  The Aviation Commissioner has refused to consider altering the use of runways at night to spread out jet noise instead of concentrating it over one or two air corridors. FAiR says she has made up her mind that there will be no change at O’Hare no matter how many citizens demand change, no matter what solutions are proposed and no matter how devastating the impact of her decisions on families, children and seniors, and even entire neighbourhoods.