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Surprisingly Few People Make a Lot of Airport Noise Complaints

A new study has found that just a handful of people are responsible for the majority of noise complaints directed toward airports.
October 26, 2016, 11am PDT | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Are expensive noise mitigations at airports being constructed just to keep a small number of complainers happy? That's what a new study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University claims. Tim Fernholz of Quartz reports that the report authors found, among other things, that three callers made up 88 percent of complaints against Los Angeles International Airport in June and one caller made up 73 percent of complaints against Denver International Airport in all of 2015.

These aggrieved citizens may feel justified in reporting their displeasure, but their complaints can produce policies that leave everyone else holding the bag.

According to [researcher Eli Dourado], when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) makes rules to limit noise—based in part on complaints like these—it can prevent improvements in airport infrastructure, increase the cost of flights, and increase the carbon footprint of air travel.

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Published on Monday, October 17, 2016 in Quartz
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