Noise complaints rise as airport runway work reroutes planes
Work on upgrading runway expected to continue until late July
Winnipeg airport officials are asking people in the city's southeast to be patient with the noise they're hearing thanks to recent — and temporary — changes in air traffic.
The Winnipeg Airports Authority is upgrading the north-south runway at James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, meaning planes flying to and from the city are being rerouted to another runway that runs northwest-southeast.
As a result, residents in southeast Winnipeg — an area that does not usually have as much air traffic — have noticed many more planes flying overhead, sometimes in the middle of the night.
WAA spokesperson Felicia Wiltshire said the increase in flights over the southeast area of the city is high.
“Normally on a given day, 10 per cent of flights might head in that direction. Now, there’s only one runway, and depending on wind direction, that area could see 100 per cent of the traffic,” she said. “We have definitely seen an increase in noise complaints, and we were expecting that.”
Many of those residents have flooded the airport authority's 24-hour noise complaint line, but Wiltshire is asking everyone to be patient for a little longer.
"Runway construction is necessary for us to do right now and, like everywhere else in the city, that construction season is so short," she told CBC News.
Wiltshire said things should go back to normal when the runway work wraps up at the end of July.
Work started in April
"People are outside more in their yards, their windows are open overnight, so that also plays a factor into hearing the planes," she said.
"So now that the traffic is heading over their homes at different hours of the day, and their windows are open, they're a little more attuned to it."
As for the overnight air traffic that some people have noticed, Wiltshire said that would mainly be from large cargo planes, not passenger flights.
Brian Hydesmith lives in the area where the extra air traffic is being rerouted. He said it’s nothing new, and he’s taking the extra noise in stride.
“Oh you pause your conversation, the plane goes by and on you go,” he said. “Because we are outdoors now that the weather is nice, we tend to notice it a little bit more.”
Airport officials say they are taking precautions to avoid excessive air traffic noise, but anyone who wants to report a noise disturbance can call the noise complaint line at 204-987-9403.
With files from the CBC's Chris Glover and Alana Cole