MSP Noise Abatement Efforts

MSP Noise Abatement Efforts

The Metropolitan Airports Commission has a long history of working with community stakeholders, airport users, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other government entities to address aircraft noise issues. These efforts date back to before 1970; in the 1990s the MAC's efforts included its extensive residential noise mitigation program and collaborative development and implementation of noise abatement procedures for arrivals and departures at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). 

Recently, use of NextGen flight tracking data and upgraded noise monitoring devices have enhanced the MAC's responsiveness and data-sharing. Better data access facilitates proactive community and pilot outreach, aircraft noise abatement efforts for each of the MAC reliever airports, publicly-accessible interactive reports and use of the FlightTracker tool through the internet.

The MAC's ongoing commitment to minimizing aircraft noise impacts at MSP involves dedicated Community Relations Office staff that are responsive to concerns expressed by community members.  Charged with collecting and analyzing flight track and aircraft noise data, the Community Relations Office also explores and facilitates the use of available technologies to increase efficiency of aircraft operating procedures and data analysis.  To this end, the MAC supports community involvement and serves in a technical-advisory role to the MSP Noise Oversight Committee.

Following is a summary of noise abatement efforts related to MSP:

Eagan-Mendota Heights Departure Corridor

This departure corridor was developed in an effort to direct aircraft, as much as possible, over noise-compatible land use areas in Eagan and Mendota Heights, southeast of MSP.  The corridor has proven to be an effective way to utilize existing compatible land uses surrounding the airport.  In addition, the corridor provides flexible ways to operationally utilize airspace over such areas.  When conditions allow, Air Traffic Control (ATC) will direct as many departing jet aircraft as possible to use Runways 12L and 12R so that they will overfly the corridor and stay within the corridor boundaries.  ATC will assign specific headings depending on which runway an aircraft is departing from: headings for jet aircraft are inclusive of 090 degrees, 105 degrees and 120 degrees.  A wind-corrected heading may also be assigned.  On average, monthly corridor compliance is around 95%.

Runway Use System (RUS)

A Runway Use System (RUS) is utilized at MSP to prioritize the order in which runways are assigned for arrivals and departures during times of the day when safety and air traffic demand allow.

MSP Runway Use System Overview

Straight-out Departures from MSP Runways 30L and 30R

Air Traffic Controllers at MSP avoid sending aircraft departing from MSP Runways 30L and 30R straight-out over Minneapolis and areas northwest of MSP when operating conditions permit.  This means that departures from MSP Runways 30L and 30R are assigned headings other than runway heading when feasible because residents living under the flight paths northwest of MSP (straight-out from MSP Runways 30L and 30R) experience all of the overflights from arrival operations on Runways 12L and 12R. 

Runway 17 2.5 Nautical Mile Turnpoint Departure Procedure and River Departure Procedure and River Departure Heading

This procedure was implemented concurrently with the opening of Runway 17/35 in October 2005.  On August 27, 2003 the Federal Aviation Administration issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)/Record of Decision (ROD) approving an Environmental Assessment prepared by the MAC for the implementation of the procedure.  Monthly procedure compliance is around 99%.

Runway 17 215-Degree Departure Heading

This procedure was designed for westbound departures off Runway 17 during southeast operational flows at MSP.  It was implemented in April 2007 and dramatically reduces the instances of aircraft overflight impacts south of the Minnesota River Valley in the City of Burnsville. 

Noise Abatement Departure Profiles

Noise Abatement Departure Profiles (NADP) are designed to reduce aircraft noise exposure for residents living close into an airport (within 3.5 miles = close-in procedure) or further out (beyond 3.5 miles = distant procedure) from an airport.  All airlines operating at MSP have agreed to comply with the Distant Noise Abatement Departure Profile for departures from all runways.

Pilot Education Program and Noise Abatement Sensitivity Training

The MAC works with the aircraft operators that utilize MSP and with the Air Traffic Controllers to encourage awareness of noise issues and to help increase compliance with current noise abatement procedures.  In 2010, an MSP Pilot Guide was published on the Community Relations Office website and distributed to airlines operating at MSP.

Nighttime Power-backs

All airlines at MSP have agreed to eliminate power-back from the gates during the nighttime hours.  All nighttime flights will be pushed back from the gates with aircraft tugs.

Voluntary Nighttime Agreements

The air carriers operating at MSP have agreed to limit the use of modified Stage 3 aircraft for scheduled operations during the nighttime hours of 10:30 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. when possible.

Engine Run-up Field Rule

All airlines operating at MSP are required to conduct maintenance run-ups at a designated run-up pad and to comply with the MSP Run-up Field Rule.

Training Restriction

The major air carriers operating at MSP have agreed not to conduct training operations (e.g., touch-and-go operations) at MSP.

West Cargo Ramp Hushkitted Aircraft Engine Start Procedure

This program was implemented in July 2007 on the cargo ramp located west of Runway 17/35.  The procedure outlines specific aircraft tugging operations and aircraft positioning on the ramp area prior to aircraft engine starts, which significantly reduces aircraft noise impacts for hundreds of residents in the City of Richfield adjacent to Runway 17/35.

MSP Noise E-News

For years, the MAC Community Relations Office published and distributed printed newsletters. In 2015, Noise E-news began being published and distributed electronically. Anyone can receive Noise E-news, just click here to subscribe: Stay Informed Website

This website facilitates dissemination of information pertaining to aircraft noise and operations, and includes:

  • Query options for aircraft operations data and aircraft noise levels
  • Mapping tools to help determine eligibility for the Residential Noise Mitigation Program
  • Access to monthly operations and noise reports
  • Display of arrival or departure flight tracks
  • Meeting dates for the MSP Noise Oversight Committee and other MAC scheduled meetings
  • Option for registering a noise complaint on-line