People living near a Los Angeles airport frequented by jet-setters complain about fumes

  • More and more private jets, as well as charter planes, are using Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles, creating more smoke.
  • The inhabitants of the surrounding neighborhoods complain of the smell of gas and the sound of jets.
  • Emissions from private jets have been linked to different cardiovascular and respiratory conditions.

Residents of neighborhoods surrounding Los Angeles’ Van Nuys Airport are complaining about fumes and noise as more private jets use the airport.

The quantity of ultrafine particles emitted by the jets increases and they have been linked various cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, The Los Angeles Times reported.

VNY, the Van Nuys airport call letters, is a general aviation airport, which means it is for public use and generally has no commercial service. It was ranked as busiest general aviation airport in the United States by General Aviation News in 2020.

Sue Steinberg, a resident of Lake Balboa just west of VNY since 1986, told the LA Times she “never had a problem” but now “the fumes are incredibly bad.”

Another San Fernando Valley resident told the LA Times that she wouldn’t let her son out because of the fumes.

Private jets, which started to become popular in the 1960s, are now the subject of intense scrutiny for their impact on the environment.

When Kylie Jenner posted a photo of her and boyfriend Travis Scott on their private jets on Instagram in July, some commented, asking why they need to be eco-conscious while Jenner and other wealthy people fly by emitting carbon into the atmosphere.

Per passenger, private jets create 5 to 14 times more pollution than commercial planes, according to Transport and Environment. The European Clean Transport campaign group has also found that private jets create 50 times more pollution than trains and that the gap will continue to grow as jets get bigger.

In 2020, there was a 300% year-over-year increase in the number of first private jet flights, Robb report reported. Richard Koe, chief executive of data management and analytics firm WingX, told the LA Times that 2022 has been “a banner year” for private jet traffic around the world.

But private jets aren’t the only aircraft using VNY. Charter planes, which allow individual travelers to purchase a ticket for take specific but unplanned routes, use them too. Because some charter flights on specific aircraft types are permitted from the airport by the Federal Aviation Administration, it creates a “loophole,” Lake Balboa resident Suzanne Gutierrez-Hedges told the LA Times.

“It turned Van Nuys into a commercial airport,” she said, adding that she and her neighbors were saying, “We die so the 1% can fly!”

People living around the airport shared possible solutions with the LA Times.

Gutierrez-Hedges said she wanted to see a curfew for private jet takeoffs and landings, and a study on air quality. Steinberg pushed for an environmental buffer between the airport and residential areas.

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