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British Airways Bd. v. Port Auth. of N.Y. & N.J.

Citation: 7 ELR 20447
No. No. 76 Civ. 1276, 431 F. Supp. 1216/10 ERC 1051/(S.D.N.Y., 05/11/1977)

The court grants plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and enjoins the New York Port Authority from prohibiting flights of the supersonic transport Concorde aircraft into John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Plaintiffs are foreign air carriers holding Civil Aeronautics Board permits and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operations specifications authorizing them to operate Concorde at JFK for a trial period of 16 months, by order of the Secretary of Transportation. Defendants sought to deny permission to land in order to make independent evaluations of the Concorde's noise data and relevant community reaction. The FAA Administrator is statutorily authorized to plan the development of and to test new and improved aircraft. Concorde flights into JFK were allowed under this mandate. The Federal Aviation Act clearly vests responsibility for noise abatement in the federal government. However, local airport proprietors may control airport noise by nondiscriminatory regulation, subject to the restrictions that they may not impose undue burdens on interstate or foreign commerce and may not unjustly discriminate between different categories of airport users. Local regulations may be preempted when they stand as an obstacle to the full purposes and objectives of Congress. Defendants' prohibition is in irreconcilable conflict with federal examination of the noise question and must therefore fail under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.

For moving papers filed in this case, see ELR 65407.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
William C. Clarke
245 Park Ave., New York NY 10017
(212) 983-5352

John Michael Clear, Peter J. Nickles
Covington & Burling
888 16th St., NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 452-6000

John A. Wells
Rogers & Wells
200 Park Ave., New York NY 10017
(212) 972-7000

Counsel for Defendants
Patrick J. Falvey, Joseph Lesser
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
One World Trade Center, New York NY 10048
(212) 466-7000

Counsel for Amici Curiae: Friends of the Earth
Geoffrey Kalmus, Charlotte M. Fischman
Nickerson, Kramer, Lowenstein, Nessen, Kamin & Soll
919 Third Ave., New York NY 10022
(212) 688-1100

Environmental Defense Fund
John F. Hellegers
1525 18th St., NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 833-1484

Town of Hempstead
William D. Denson
551 Fifth Ave., New York NY 10017
(212) 687-1360