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Santa Barbara - South County

Santa Barbara Airport seeing increase in noise complaints

Airplane Noise Complaint
Scott Sheahen/KEYT
Over the summer months, countless airplane noise complaints have been pouring in from people who live in Hope Ranch and near More Mesa.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — With more flights landing at the Santa Barbara Airport, there’s even more noise for nearby neighbors.

Over the summer months, countless complaints have been pouring in from people who live in Hope Ranch and near More Mesa.

According to airport officials, this has less to do with planes hovering low but instead flying more frequently.

During the peak of the pandemic, there were as few as four commercial flights taking off from the airport each day.

The airport’s passenger count has now exceeded 2019 levels, with nearly 24 flights each day on average.

“It can be a big difference when essentially the airport was operating at just a minimal level versus back to normal operations today,” Santa Barbara Airport business development manager Deanna Zachrisson said.

On Thursday night, the Airport Commission hosted an online update for the public on efforts to work with its’ partner airlines to assure safe arrivals while also reducing noise impacts.

Zachrisson says that almost all complaints have to do with deviations from the flight path of planes descending into the airport.

“They’re coming in off the water, turning in roughly over the More Mesa area and lining up with the runway,” she explained.”

Between June and July, the number of documented complaints doubled to nearly 600.

However, there’s not much that the airport can do with its legal abilities — mandates, restrictions and fines — because of the Aircraft Noise and Capacity Act of 1990.

“The best approach is to try to work collaboratively between the airport, neighbors and our airlines to try to reduce noise impacts as much as possible,” Zachrisson concluded.

The Santa Barbara Airport is currently conducting daily reviews of commercial flight activity and noise complaints.

To learn more about the Aircraft Noise Advisory Program, click here.

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist and sports anchor at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.

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