Airport Noise Information and Complaints


importance of santa fe municipal airport

Established in 1941, Santa Fe Municipal airport is a critical air transportation hub and economic engine for our community - the airport supports over 680 fulltime jobs and generates an economic impact of $78 million annually.  The airport is the second busiest in the state with 150,000 passengers and 65,000 flight operations per year, 181 based aircraft, 20 commercial businesses, and 5 federal and state agencies that provide aerial safety and rescue services.

aircraft noise and regulatory authority

Like any transportation hub or network, such as railway stations, bus depots, and interstate highways, there is associated noise generated by aircraft operating to and from the airport.  The Federal Aviation Administration has the sole authority to regulate airspace use, management, air traffic control, safety, and the regulation of aircraft noise at its source.

State and local government authority regulate aircraft noise primarily extends to land use restrictions, airport infrastructure improvements, and aircraft noise abatement procedures that do not impede the federal interest in safety and management of the air navigation system or unreasonably interfere with interstate or foreign commerce. Additionally, federal regulations require an airport to be available for public use on reasonable terms and without unjust discrimination against any user. 

Standards for aircraft noise levels

The Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL) has been identified by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development as the principal metric for airport noise.

DNL is a 24-hour equivalant sound level in decibels that is calculated by measuring sound levels for each aircraft operation (landing or takeoff), adding a penalty for night time operations, and then totaled to determine average sound levels.      

The federal government has established 65 DNL as the threshold for noise levels that are compatible with residential areas.  For reference, conversational speech is approximately 60 decibels, a household dishwasher is 70 decibels, and a truck traveling 40 MPH is 80 decibels.  

santa fe municipal airport Noise exposure

Santa Fe Municipal Airport commissioned a comprehensive noise study in 2008 to measure the actual noise levels, produce noise exposure maps, and ensure the airport is in compliance with all federal noise regulations.  The study showed noise levels of 65 DNL and above are entirely contained on airport property and in compliance with all federal regulatory requirements.  The noise exposure maps were updated in 2015 revealing aircraft noise levels have decreased from 2008. These reductions are primarily due to aircraft design improvements mandated by the FAA, the decline in aircraft operations at Santa Fe Municipal Airport, and noise reduction measures the airport has implemented.

what we are doing to further reduce noise impacts

Although the airport is in compliance with all federal regulations, we are committed to further reducing noise impacts. The airport has a voluntary noise abatement program that identifies residential and noise sensitive areas around the airport, recommends arrival and departure procedures, and sets quiet hours. This program is widely distributed to pilots, reviewed and updated annually, and monitored for compliance.   

File a noise complaint

In our continuing efforts to reduce noise impacts, you may file a noise complaint by calling the following agencies:

  • Federal Aviation Administration; (505) 764-1200
  • Santa Fe Municipal Airport; (505) 955-2904 

When you call, please ensure you leave the following information when available:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Where the aircraft noise occurred 
  • When the aircraft noise occurred
  • What type of aircraft - propeller, jet, or helicopter - and any identifying markings

This information helps with the investigation of the aircraft noise, determination of compliance, and initiation of appropriate actions.





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