The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) works closely with the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), the Massport Community Advisory Committee (MCAC) and other stakeholders to address aircraft noise and aviation issues in the Boston area.
Topics and updates on this page include:
- Boston Block 1 Runway 15 Right and 33 Left Air Traffic Procedures – December 2021
- FAA and Massport Complete Successful Work Under MOU to Reduce Aviation Noise Impact
- Boston Harbor Seaplane Operations – December 2020
- Runway 4-Left RNAV (GPS) Approach Procedure
- Boston Logan Airport Noise Study (BLANS)
Boston Block 1 Runway 15 Right and 33 Left Air Traffic Procedures – December 2021
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced implementation of two air traffic procedure changes for Boston Logan International Airport that will reduce the impact from aircraft overflight noise on December 2, 2021. The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) and the Massport Community Advisory Committee (MCAC) requested the procedures.
The FAA and Massport signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2016 establishing a framework to explore and evaluate possible changes to satellite-based air traffic procedures at Boston Logan International Airport to reduce the impact from aircraft overflight noise.
The first change moves aircraft departing on Runway 15-Right further north away from densely populated areas near Hull, Mass. Pilots can use the procedure seven days a week during both day and night hours. This procedure was implemented on December 2, 2021.
The second change moves aircraft on approach to Runway 33-Left out over the water, away from densely populated areas near Hull. Pilots can use the procedure seven days a week during both day and night hours. This procedure will be implemented on December 30, 2021.
The FAA evaluated the procedures for safety, operational feasibility and environmental impact. The agency conducted the environmental reviews in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and issued a Categorical Exclusion.
- Boston Runway 15 Right Departure Procedure Categorical
- Boston Runway 33 Left Approach Procedure Categorical
FAA and Massport Complete Successful Work Under MOU to Reduce Aviation Noise Impact
In September 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), was executed. The MOU established a framework for cooperation between both parties to explore changes and/or amendments to Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures used by aircraft arriving and departing Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) with the goal to reduce overflight noise impacts of aircraft operations. Exploration and development of procedures was separated into two sequential blocks, known as Block 1 and Block 2. The publication of Block 1 procedures occurred in December 2021. The first change moved aircraft departing on Runway 15-Right further north away from densely populated areas near Hull, Massachusetts. The second change moved aircraft on approach to Runway 33-Left out over the water, away from densely populated areas near Hull. These procedure changes reduced impacts from aircraft noise, while maintaining the safety and efficiency benefits of PBN procedures at BOS.
As part of our agency-wide focus on community engagement, FAA facilitated and conducted internal and external outreach throughout the duration of the MOU. This outreach resulted in a strong partnership between the FAA, Massport, and the community. Specifically, the Massachusetts Port Authority Community Advisory Committee (MCAC) communicated with Massport to request implementation of the following Block 2 recommendations:
- Modify the Runway 22-Left Area Navigation (RNAV) Standard Instrument Departure (SID) with a speed restriction to enable an earlier turn to the east, shifting aircraft tracks north away from Hull.
- Implement a new overwater Area Navigation (RNAV) approach for Runway 22-Left that crosses the Nahant Causeway from the east to join a 4-mile final approach. Arrival flight paths from the south and east are moved overwater instead of overflying populated areas north/northeast of the airport. For this procedure MCAC requested a 12-month operational test.
After Massport and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) collected appropriate data which included noise measurements, noise complaints, weather, runway use and radar flight tracks; both recommendations were passed and submitted to FAA for implementation. The MOU collaboration model amongst FAA, Massport, and the community was the first of its kind and was successful in developing workable solutions to community concerns. We also recognize the technical contributions of MIT and Harris Miller Miller & Hanson (HMMH) Inc.
The FAA believes a positive working relationship has been developed with Massport, and the community, and will continue necessary work to advance consideration of Block 2 procedures. In light of this progress, the FAA believes the purpose of the MOU has been met.
- BOS Sunset Letter (PDF)
- Massport Letter (PDF)
Boston Harbor Seaplane Operations – December 2020
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Dec. 3, 2020 completed an environmental review of proposed seaplane operations in Boston Harbor and determined they would not exceed standards set by the National Environmental Policy Act. The agency will require Tailwind Air Service, Inc., the operator that will conduct the flights, to coordinate arrivals and departures with local air traffic control facilities and comply with requirements for flying in controlled airspace.
- Federal Register Notice (PDF) – Dec. 3, 2020
- Categorical Exclusion Declaration/Record of Decision for Boston Harbor Seaplane Operations (PDF) – Nov. 24, 2020
Runway 4-Left RNAV (GPS) Approach Procedure
The Federal Aviation Administration has completed the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) for the new satellite-based approach procedure to Runway 4-Left at Boston Logan International Airport. The EA found that the procedure would have no significant impact in any environmental category including aviation noise.
The new procedure closely follows the path of the existing visual approach for Runway 4-Left. It will enhance safety and flight efficiency by providing vertical and lateral guidance to pilots and by enabling air traffic controllers to more precisely monitor arriving aircraft, especially in bad weather. When visibility is low, flights will be able to land on Runway 4-Left, helping to reduce delays that result in late-night arrivals at the airport. Currently, aircraft can land on the runway only in good weather.
The agency conducted the EA in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires the FAA to identify and publicly disclose the potential environmental impacts of the proposed procedure.
- Final FONSI and ROD BOS (PDF)
- Presentation to Stakeholders for the RNAV (GPS) Runway 4-Left Environmental Assessment (PDF)
- Full Environmental Assessment for Runway 4-Left RNAV (GPS) Approach Procedure (PDF, 67.8 MB)
- Consultation Letters (PDF, 17 MB)
Boston Logan Airport Noise Study (BLANS)
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in December 2017 released the Final Boston Logan Airport Noise Study (BLANS) Report. The goal of the study was to explore ways to reduce noise from flight procedures and ground operations at Boston Logan International Airport to the practicable extent possible for the greatest number of people residing in communities within a 20-mile radius of the airport. The three-phase study began in 2003 and ended in December 2016.