Court Orders FAA to Rule on Airport Noise and Capacity
Act's Applicability to Indirect Restrictions


Millard Refrigerated Services, Inc. v. Federal Aviation Administration
No. 95-1535, DC Cir., Oct. 25, 1996

The Aviation Litigation Reporter (Dec. 24, 1996, Pg. 24185) reports that a District of Columbia appeals court panel has ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration must determine whether the Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA) applies to an airport's restriction on heavy aircraft, even though the banned plane does not exceed noise limits.

According to the article, Millard Refrigerated Services Inc. (MRS) filed a complaint with the FAA after the Omaha Airport Authority decided to bar heavy aircraft from landing at the Millard Airport outside Omaha, claiming that the heavy planes were damaging the landing surface. The MRS corporate jet was one of the heavy planes barred under the rule. The FAA rejected the MRS claims, and the company next appealed to the DC Circuit court, the article says. MRS contended that the FAA should have used the Airport Noise and Capacity Act to rule on the Omaha Airport Authority rule, because the rule effectively restricted quiet planes, although that was not the rule's intention. The FAA said that the issue could not be considered because it was not before the agency.

The article goes on to say that the DC Circuit panel ruled that MRS had raised the issue and that the FAA failed to resolve it. The court opinion states, "By alleging that the Millard Airport weight restriction violated ANCA, MRS necessarily raised the issue whether ANCA applies to any restriction affecting Stage 3 (heavy) aircraft or only to restrictions designed to limit airport noise." The court held that the FAA did not resolve the issue of whether ANCA applies to direct as well as indirect restrictions of Stage 3 operations. The case was remanded to the FAA for the proper determinations of ANCA applicability.