Last week, JetBlue announced plans to retrofit their entire Airbus fleet with noise-reducing vortex generators. JetBlue is the largest operator at Logan International Airport and this move reflects the partnership between Massport and the airline to reduce aircraft noise to benefit surrounding communities. Massport understands concerns about aircraft noise and has continuously been involved in community discussions with residents and elected officials regarding overflights.
“While the airline industry has benefited from advances in technology and efficiency leading to quieter planes and engines, the work is never done,” said Joe Bertapelle, Director Strategic Airspace Programs, JetBlue. “We’re pleased to incorporate this advancement across our Airbus fleet and contribute to our communities in a meaningful way as good corporate citizens.”
Beginning in 2015, the airline began taking delivery of new aircraft with vortex generators already installed as standard equipped Airbus family aircraft. JetBlue is committing to add the devices to its 138 remaining Airbus A320 family aircraft through 2021. The small devices disrupt wind over ports on the wing, which can produce a “whistling” tone during approach into an airport.
Vortex generators will be installed on 130 existing JetBlue A320 aircraft and 8 JetBlue A321 aircraft during their existing scheduled heavy checks with the full fleet wide install expected to be complete in 2021. All future Airbus orders will be delivered with vortex generators already installed.
This extraordinary commitment is a testament to years of advocacy by local elected officials, and JetBlue’s ongoing support for the communities where its customers and crewmembers live and work, paralleled JetBlue’s own research on the effectiveness of vortex generators.
“Thank you to JetBlue for its leadership in implementing noise-reduction technologies to its entire Airbus fleet,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo. “I’m encouraged that the airline is taking this important step on this issue- one I have advocated for since I was a municipal official. I encourage the other airlines that fly in and out of Logan Airport to follow JetBlue’s example.”
Working with the community and elected officials, Massport has made efforts over the years in various areas to mitigate the effects of aircraft noise. Currently, Massport and the FAA are working on a groundbreaking RNAV Study led by technical experts at MIT to develop test projects to determine the possibility of noise reducing procedures at Logan. Working with the public and the statutorily created Massport Community Advisory Committee (Massport CAC), Massport has completed an initial phase called Block 1 and are in Block 2. Block 1 resulted in recommendations, which were technically less complex and did not result in shifting of noise from one community to another. Block 2 is looking at ideas that are more complex and that may shift noise.
“JetBlue’s new technology to reduce airplane noise will have a positive impact on the communities impacted by flights arriving at Logan,” said Senator Joseph Boncore. “This is a great move for the airline and a win for those who have advocated on this issue over the years.”
“I’m pleased with JetBlue’s efforts to implement noise-reduction technology across its Airbus fleet,” Rep. Adrian Madaro said. “Noise pollution has long been a top quality of life concern for residents of East Boston. This investment is a step in the right direction and I implore other airlines to make noise reduction a priority as well.”
The Massport CAC spearheaded that Massport prioritize this noise reduction implementation.
In December of 2015, East Boston resident John Nucci was named by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as a representative of the City of Boston to the Massport CAC. That committee unanimously elected him as their appointment to the Massport Board of Directors.
“As a lifelong resident of East Boston, I know how important it is that Massport push the airlines to develop noise reducing benefits for the surrounding communities,” said Massport CAC member and Board member John Nucci. “After hearing from the membership of the Massport CAC, as their appointment to the Massport Board, I was pleased to advocate for the retrofit of fleets to include noise-reducing vortex generators. JetBlue’s actions are a positive outcome for all.”
“At Massport, we are continuously engaged with the surrounding communities of Logan Airport and appreciate their feedback regarding airplane noise,” said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. “We think this is a great step JetBlue is taking toward reducing airplane noise and we are thankful to the airline for making this a priority.”