'Quiet' Planes Approved for Night Takeoffs From Ben-Gurion

Planes with a noise stage of 4 or less categorized as 'quiet;' planes with high noise stage can't land or take off at night.

The Transportation Ministry announced on Tuesday that starting immediately, planes categorized as 'quiet - with a noise stage of four or less - would be allowed to take off from Ben Gurion International Airport at all hours.

Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz met with Environment Minister Gideon Ezra on Tuesday to finalize the details of the new plan.

Sources at the Transportation Ministry told Haaretz that residents near the airport would not be adversely affected by the late night departures, as the planes taking off would not make high levels of noise.

Ben Gurion airport is generally closed for departures between 2 A.M. and 5:30 A.M. Planes with a higher noise stage are prohibited from landing at the airport between 11 P.M. and 6 P.M.

Delegates at the meeting also decided to spread out departure times for all planes leaving Ben Gurion, to limit excessive evening or morning congestion.

The Transportation Ministry said that spreading out departure times would put an end to "noise windows" - take-offs concentrated in the early morning and late afternoon hours.

The average level of noise in communities near the airport is expected to be lower as a result of the recent changes, the source said.