A revised O’Hare Airport night runway plan could reduce jet noise for nearly 68,000 Chicago area residents during the overnight hours, according to a new analysis released in advance of a key vote Friday on the proposal.
Four runways affecting parts of Chicago and Schiller Park would be among six to see fewer night flights under the plan.
But five others — affecting suburbs northwest, northeast and west of O’Hare — would see more operations between 10:50 p.m. and 5:25 a.m., the study by JDA Aviation Technology Solutions estimated.
Although some residents would be hit with more night noise, even more would see less, resulting in an overall reduction to 67,887 residents, according to the JDA study, which was bankrolled by the Suburban O’Hare Commission.
“It’s the fairest plan,’’ said Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson, president of the commission.
“Everyone gets some benefit,” he said. “Everyone gets some pain.’’
At least nine members of the commission have endorsed a six-month test of the idea. The Fair Allocation in Runways citizen coalition supports the “concept” of the plan, albeit with some reservations.
The proposal would rotate night runways every week for 12 weeks, so every area around O’Hare would be assured at least some weeks of night peace. And it would establish a fairly predictable calendar of when certain runways would absorb what city experts estimated would be 45 arrivals and 35 departures each night.
Portions of Chicago’s 45th Ward, Elk Grove Village, Schiller Park, Itasca and Wood Dale could experience night jets in six of the 12 weeks in the rotation — the most of 45 communities within 5 miles of O’Hare, according to an analysis by the Chicago Department of Aviation released Thursday.
The plan would alternate between diagonal runways affecting only suburban areas, and east-west parallel runways that currently shoulder most flights. Those parallel runways affect areas east of O’Hare, such as Chicago and Schiller Park, and west of O’Hare, including Bensenville, Wood Dale and Itasca.
The O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission is set to vote Friday on whether to forward the plan to the Federal Aviation Administration for final signoff on a six-month test.
Another version of the proposal drew a rocky reception in March, when it failed to muster the two-thirds majority needed to advance it to the FAA.
Some suburbs were still balking at the idea this week.
Des Plaines already is being bombarded with daytime noise from O’Hare’s northernmost runway, Des Plaines Ald. Malcolm Chester said Thursday. The rotation plan would bring more night flights from diagonal runway 22R, which would be used during three of the plan’s 12 weeks.
Des Plaines is so close to O’Hare that night flights are “a big problem,” Chester said.
“You not only have noise, you have [landing] lights light up homes like Christmas trees,’’ Chester said. “The intensity is quite extraordinary.’’
Plus, Chester fears that by late 2018 or early 2019, when another diagonal runway is due to be closed, 22R will see even more traffic as one of only two diagonals remaining in the rotation.
Des Plaines is among suburbs that have experienced O’Hare jet noise for decades — well before the ongoing $3.8 billion O’Hare overhaul that triggered a dramatic 2013 change in flight paths.
Afterward, so many Chicagoans complained about the new onslaught of planes over portions of the 41st, 45th, 38th, 39th and 40th wards from east-west parallel runways that O’Hare jet noise became a 2015 Chicago mayoral campaign issue.
“Finally, someone from the city is exposed to what we have been exposed to for 60 years,’’ Chester said. “Now that the city has an impact, they want a rotation to get it off the city.”
However, Schiller Park Mayor Barbara Piltaver noted that all the suburbs around O’Hare will benefit from its expansion, so they all should all share night jet noise.
Schiller Park and portions of Chicago have been especially hard hit by the 2013 flight path changes because the airfield’s two longest runways are aimed right at them.
“It bothers me when people say, `We don’t want planes coming over our towns,’ ” Piltaver said. “You all benefit from O’Hare Airport. I think everyone has to share the burden.”
Elmwood Park, which opposed the last rotation plan, is supporting the new one because it does not call for flight path changes, Elmwood Park trustee Alan Kaminski said.
The latest proposal brings “predictability” to night jet noise, Kaminski said. It would be tested for six months and then die automatically, unless the Noise Commission tweaks or renews it.
“This is not a final proposal. We will all have the opportunity to observe the impact,’’ Kaminski said. “It’s a work in progress.”