Sky Posse Palo Alto

Dear Friends,

THANK YOU to all who wrote to the City registering concerns that Palo Alto City Council has not reached out to residents with information or involvement in Palo Alto Airport’s 20-year plan. 

Airport Planning Process is Guided by FAA and regional and industry interests with minimal attention to Local Concerns or Priorities: 

The PA Weekly published this article on airport plans which so far have been developed without engaging residents. Other than a Council study session last Spring (study sessions are intended to not result in Council votes about policy, or direction), and where few details were discussed, Council has not held any policy discussions or taken action to guide the airport planning process. 

Council has apparently handed the planning process over to staff and the airport who must necessarily rely on FAA guidance but it is widely understood that the FAA has NO standards to protect people from airport pollution like noise and lead fuel. FAA processes and meetings are a “show and tell” science fair format, and the occasional Council members that have attended airport planning meetings are merely spectators. Alarmingly, this lack of leadership only pits pro-airport interests against citizen concerns. 

FAA Airport Noise Threshold is Under Review: 

The FAA and pro-airport interests consistently deny curfews, fines, or restrictions to address noise or airport pollution. A regulation about airport noise and access restrictions, regulation Part 161, is notoriously undermined by the FAA and industry, similar to how the FAA fights NEPA. These antiquated and highly questionable noise policies are currently under review, including airport land use policies and the FAA’s noise threshold criteria (65 DNL) which establishes the level of resources and attention to manage noise. It is premature to “accept” or to promote long range plans until potential policy changes are settled.

The City should not entertain alternatives for any airport expansion until the FAA finalizes their Noise Policy Review and there are pathways to set curfews and operational restrictions. For example, the FAA subscribes to the International Civil Organization (ICAO) Guidance on the Balanced Approach to Noise Management which includes “operating restrictions on aircraft” but offers no practical way for airports to deliver on the “Balanced Approach.” Council has oversight of the airport's plans and should be exploring these issues and incorporating policy guidelines into the planning process. And without a clear way to restrict or control operations, the Menu of alternatives for a long-term plan should consider the option of no longer accepting FAA airport growth grants, to eventually have more options for control or repurposing airport land. Regarding EVTOL (electric aircraft), the process is backwards. The City/FAA/special interests promote untested aircraft with virtually zero understanding of the new noise or how, where or how low these novel vehicles will be flown. Whereas the topic of impacts from aircraft noise (cardiovascular disease, loss of sleep, effects on children) are dealt with “needs more research.” Electric aircraft need “more research” until noise can be measured adequately for impacts on humans and the natural environment. Our interest is in reducing impacts, and especially the combined impacts of the PAO and SFO, OAK and SJC airports on residents.

City Needs to Set Policy for Airport Planning:

It’s time for the Council to take seriously the need to guide the airport planning and set policy to address the giant pollution operation in their portfolio. Council should devote time on the public agenda to address the public's concerns over airport management and growth, and the hazards and risks to neighbors and residents.

An airport meeting is scheduled for June 20, 6pm at Baylands Cafe, 1875 Embarcadero Road. We are asking for an objective report on the Legal and Regulatory Framework for Palo Alto Airport and to hold off on planning until the FAA has concluded their policy reviews. See our email to Council and the City Manager asking for this information to be included at the next airport event and to hold off on long term airport planning decisions until the FAA has finished their policy reviews. Please send the Council and City Manager suggestions about what YOU would like to see and hear at the upcoming airport meeting.


Ask neighbors to JOIN OUR CALLS TO ACTION and to get updates by sending "SUBSCRIBE" to


Report intrusive jet noise!

The number of reporters matters (enlist neighbors who are bothered by intrusive jet noise to report!)

Use any of these methods: 




SFO PHONE 650.821.4736/Toll free 877.206.8290.


SFO traffic: click here for the link

SJC traffic: click her for the link

Other airports: click here for more info

Thank you!

Sky Posse Palo Alto