A noise reduction commission voted Friday morning to restart a controversial runway rotation program at O’Hare International Airport.
A tweaked version of the program, which aims to reduce nighttime airplane noise in hard-hit areas, was approved by the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission by a 36-10 vote.
That all but clears the way for a new, 12-week test run, which is expected to begin in May, pending approval by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The goal of the so-called Fly Quiet program, which was tested for six months last year, is to spread night flights and noise around through a weekly runway rotation. But residents in some communities northwest and northeast of the airfield, like Park Ridge, said they ended up with more jet noise during the trial run.
Officials have acknowledged that the test program directed additional flights over Arlington Heights and nearby areas, while diverting noise from hard-hit areas like Bensenville, which lost hundreds of homes and businesses to airport runway expansion.
The latest plan to reduce airplane noise from O’Hare has been discussed in campaigns for local offices, with municipal elections looming on April 4, and on local government boards in recent days.
Des Plaines Ald. Malcolm Chester, who sits on the commission, told fellow City Council members Monday that he predicted the plan would pass.
“It’s kind of a situation where most of the people who are on the commission benefit by putting the planes over us, to be quite blunt about it,” he said.
The commission is comprised of both city and suburban municipal officials.
Check back for further details on the vote.
Freelance reporter Brian L. Cox contributed.