Naples Airport looks for noise compromise between neighbors, jets

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

The community around the Naples Airport continues to push back against the noise of low-flying jets. One business owner at the airport says he’s just trying to do his job.

The Naples Airport Authority will soon send recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration on ways it can reduce noise. They boil down to this: Getting planes into the air higher and faster on takeoff and making them stay higher for longer while landing.

Noise is not a new complaint for the area. The board of the Naples Airport Authority has received comments for years, including at its monthly meeting in February:

“The noise is deafening.”

“I’m telling you as a resident who deals with flights every two minutes: I’ve sat on my property… everywhere I sit, have to stop the conversations that I’m having. I’m frustrated. And I’m looking for some answers.”

“We have an unconscionable few private jet travelers degrading the quality of life.”

Stephen Myers, vice president of Elite Jets, doesn’t have all the answers. He knows neighbors see him and other people operating out of the airport as the bad guys.

“It is a public airport, which means it is available 24 hours a day, so, if we want to land at 3 in the morning, we legally can,” Myers said.

But Myers says his clients try to comply with the Naples Airport Authority’s voluntary curfew, often stopping the jet engines between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

“There’s a number of reasons why the airplane might land early or depart early, so we do the best we can,” Myers said. “At the end of the day, the Naples Airport is a piece of critical infrastructure to this community, which is not just Southwest Florida, but it’s South Florida as a whole.”

Still, February’s Naples Airport Authority meeting brought comments like these:

“I move that the City of Naples has outgrown the airport, and the time has come not to move the airport, but to close it.”

Jets at the Naples Airport. Credit: WINK News

“The noise from the jets is just overwhelming.”

But Myers and Elite Jets President Mark London make transparency and listening to the community part of their business model. This is London at that same meeting:

“Anybody that would like to come out and take a tour of our facility and learn about what we do… we’ve encouraged our pilots, we’ve encouraged our customers, and we have encouraged everybody in our organization to try and comply with the voluntary noise curfew.”

Myers says the company supports some of the Naples Airport Authority’s recommendations on how to reduce noise.

“The main ones are to, when you take off, that you go higher faster,” Myers said. “That gets the noise away from the ground sooner while you’re closer to the airport, affects less people. And the other main one is that when you arrive, when you’re landing, that you come in at a steeper approach.”

A steeper approach means being in the air higher. Trying to find a balance between practicing good business and being a good neighbor.

Myers says it’s not just the ultra-wealthy and their jets people are hearing; key services come out of the airport, like the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Coast Guard and even the Humane Society.

The Naples Airport Authority will vote on the recommendations to reduce noise on April 20. People can submit comments on them through Friday. You can take a look online.

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