Moshav Residents Complain of Airport Noise

Residents of moshav Bnei Atarot, close to Ben-Gurion international airport, are complaining of unbearable noise once again following a decision to allow incoming air flights to descend over the moshav before landing.

Residents of the moshav told Haaretz that planes are once again flying over their homes as they come in to land. They said that in the past month there were several days during which "the noise from the planes was unbearable, especially in the afternoon hours, as the planes come swooping down with deafening sounds over our homes."

Last year, while construction work was in progress on one of the runways at the international airport, some moshav members were forced to leave their homes during the period of the High Holidays to stay in hotels. Residents complain that since then nothing has been done to protect their homes from the noise, and that they have not been compensated despite promises to this effect from the Civil Aviation Authority.

The authority said in response that it had "apologized ahead of time and informed the secretariat of the moshav about the temporary change in the mode of operation at the airport because of the closure of runway 12-30 for three days, so that essential repair work could be carried out. Because the runway is closed, arrivals have to land on runway 08-26. The runway was also closed for three additional days during the month of September. At that time too, the moshav secretariat was notified," the authority spokesman said.

With regard to compensation and protection of the homes against noise, the authority said that it is currently in the midst of a mediation process with the moshav members, following the legal claim submitted by Bnei Atarot residents. The authority stressed that it plans in the coming years to change the alignment of the airport's runways, and to make runway 03-21 the main runway for landings. "As soon as the change becomes effective, the movement of aircraft over Moshav Bnei Atarot is expected to stop almost completely," the spokesman said.

Meanwhile the level of noise that exceeded permitted take-off levels at the international airport declined this August. The drop was caused by the fact that the Israel Air Force has removed its planes from its base at the airport to the south of the country.

The levels of permitted noise had risen mainly as a result of take-offs by the air force's Boeing jets, but these are no longer stationed at Ben-Gurion. The change went into effect on August 25, according to data received by Haaretz from the authority. The percentage of deviations from the maximum permitted noise during take-offs was a mere 0.2 percent, compared with 6 percent in August of last year.