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167121-1 Report Abstract

Evaluation of the Air Quality and Noise Impacts of Regional Jet Service at Commercial Airports Serving Small Cities in Texas

Jeffrey D. Borowiec and L.D. White, Texas A&M University, March 2004, 81 pp. (167121-1)

Commercial airline passenger service in small markets is entering a phase that has the potential to change the industry in ways not seen since airline deregulation. The initiation of regional jet service to and from communities that previously had limited commercial service opens up a wide range of opportunities that support economic growth and trade for many communities as service levels increase and new city pairs are introduced. Along with the opportunities, however, have come a new set of high profile environmental issues that, until now, small cities have not had to deal with. These are primarily aircraft noise and exhaust emissions from arriving and departing aircraft but also include emissions from ground support equipment (GSE) and vehicles accessing the airport.

In this research, a base year reflecting the current use of turbo-prop aircraft was developed. Fleet mixes for the forecasted years were developed using the appropriate operations and enplanement forecasts. The analysis included two fleet mixes, one representing the existing turbo-prop aircraft and one representing the regional jet aircraft. Noise and air quality impacts were then measured using FAA approved and recommended software analysis tools.

For the noise analysis, the all regional jet fleet mix when compared to the existing fleet mix further reduced noise exposure impacts at the 55 dB level for eight of the 10 airports. In the air quality analysis, the regional jet fleet mix resulted in lower pollutant levels than the existing fleet mix for 2007 at many of the airports studied. Specifically, the regional jets resulted in lower CO levels at all ten airports, lower HC levels at eight of the ten airports, Lower NOX levels at six airports, lower SOX levels at five of the airports, and lower PM10 levels at all ten airports. In many of the instances where regional jet fleets did not decrease noise and emissions levels, they were not substantially higher than the existing fleet mixes that were used.

Keywords: Regional Jet, Airport Air Quality, Airport Noise, Regional Airline, and Small Community Air Service

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 1.4 MB)