Dorval residents launch class-action lawsuit against airport over noisy late-night flights
Planes aren't supposed to take off or land between certain hours, but residents say that rule is ignored
Dwight Faithful has been living in Dorval for more than two decades, so he was well aware of what it's like to have Montreal's Trudeau Airport as a neighbour before he bought his current home 14 years ago.
He was willing to live with the noise of planes during normal operational hours, if it allowed him to stay in the area.
"Dorval is a great place to live. It's a well-managed city with great residents," said Faithful, who works in the aviation industry and appreciates the important role airports play.
He puts up with low-flying planes all day as they zoom over his house, but it's the night flights that are becoming too much to handle, he said.
"There are too many flights at night," said Faithful.
While he knows some exceptions are inevitable, he says there are far too many late-night flights. That's why he's the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against Aéroports de Montréal (ADM).
"We understand: Take-offs and landings during regular hours, no problem whatsoever. That's part of life living in Dorval. We'd like some peace and quiet at night, as per the rules," said Faithful.
The class action is demanding compensation for past disturbances and for the late-night flights to stop.
"You get to the point where you can hear the dishes rattling in the kitchen cabinets," said Faithful.
The class action was filed about a month ago and residents have been signing on, he said. Others are encouraged to join the suit, he said.
The airport does have flight restrictions for heavy wide-body jets. Take offs aren't allowed between midnight and 7 a.m. Landings are also restricted between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. with certain exceptions.
But the proposed class action claims those aren't followed.
Air Canada, NAV Canada and the airport authority are all named in the lawsuit. They all declined to comment on the case, but Eric Forest, a spokesperson for ADM, said "it will vigorously defend itself against the proceedings filed by the plaintiff."
"ADM has always treated soundscape management as a priority and in a rigorous manner in collaboration with its partners in order to promote a balance between flight operations and community cohabitation," Forest said in an email.
He said the airport's operating hours have not changed in the last two decades.
The ADM offers tools for citizens to keep track of aircraft movements, noise measurements and flight paths and allows for citizens to easily file complaints, Forest said. He said a public consultation was held two years ago on the subject of noise.
Law student Christopher Blakeney has been assisting on the case. He said people in the area just want some peace.
"We're not trying to shut down the airport. We're not trying to say there can't be emergency flights. Flights get delayed, that's understood, it's to have it so that they're not regular," he said.
with files from Sharon Yonan-Renold