Tel Aviv and Modi’in residents have complained of excessive noise caused by low flying aircraft in the past three weeks.
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The Knesset’s Interior and Environment Protection Committee met on Tuesday to discuss the problem, following the wave of complaints, due to the noise caused by the opening of a second runway at Ben-Gurion International Airport.
Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Arnon Giladi, who initiated the discussion, demanded an immediate halt of night flights, which are causing “suffering and inconvenience to thousands of Tel Avivians.”
The opening of a second runway at Ben-Gurion airport at the beginning of the month led to changes in the flight path of incoming planes, which now circle over Tel Aviv at a 600-meter altitude instead of 1,200 meters.
In Modi’in, which is situated 300 meters above sea level, the noise is even louder as the planes fly over the city center at an altitude of 400-500 meters.
The runway, intended for landing, reopened after a renovation of three and a half years, during which the airport had only one runway for takeoffs and landings. The low flights over Tel Aviv triggered a wave of complaints about the noise, especially in the southern and central neighborhoods such as Kfar Shalem, Hatikva Quarter, Neve Sha’anan and the streets Nachmani, Rothschild and Balfour.
The aircraft approaching from the west make a 180-degree turn over the center of Modi’in, making very loud noise a mere 400 meters over the city.
The Knesset’s Interior and Environment Committee meeting on Tuesday was attended by officials from the ministries of environment protection and transportation, the Airport Authority, Tel Aviv Municipality and residents from the city’s southern neighborhoods.
In a letter to the environmental protection and transportation ministers, Giladi last week demanded they put an immediate stop to the flights over the city at night.
“I will take steps to stop the noise, which is causing suffering and inconvenience to thousands of people in Tel Aviv,” he wrote.
“Ben-Gurion airport must be operated like most Western airports – without takeoffs and landings at night,” he said.
The Transportation Ministry commented that “runway 12-30 is Ben-Gurion airport’s main landing runway… The flight route to this runway passes over Modi’in at the same altitude as before the renovation. The Airport Authority operates a noise monitoring apparatus in coordination with the Environmental Protection Ministry to preserve the permitted noise levels. When runway 21 is opened, the noise will be dispersed among Tel Aviv, Modi’in and the communities around the airport and the noise level will be mitigated. Now that two runways are being used, the noise level over Bnei Atarot, Shoham, Lod and north Rishon Letzion has been lowered.”