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Neighbours petition against Montreal airport's proposed extended hours

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Montreal's Trudeau International Airport is considering changing when planes can land and take off by allowing flights until 1 a.m.

Public consultations on the idea just wrapped and some of those living near the airport have started a petition opposed to the idea.

On Thorncrest Avenue in the Montreal suburb of Dorval, a plane flies overhead every few minutes.

Currently, light aircraft can fly all night, but heavier planes are not permitted to take off between midnight and 7 a.m.

They cannot land between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m.

The new proposed scenario is based on the aircraft's certified noise level, ADM media relations advisor Eric Forest said. 

Restrictions begin at 11 p.m. and become more restrictive until 1 a.m., depending on how noisy the aircraft is.

"In the morning, the quieter aircraft woudl start at 6 a.m. and the noisier ones at 8 a.m.," Forest said. "Only the quietest aircraft would be authorized to take off until 1 a.m."

In addition, Forest said the proposal would have a period of "no scheduled flights for all planes," which does not exist at the moment.

Dorval resident Anna Campagna is gathering signatures to oppose the plan, saying five hours of silence is not enough.

"Health science tells us the adult population needs seven hours of uninterrupted sleep, minimum," she said.

Campagna has sent around 200 signatures in and is still waiting for the ADM to set up a forum, so residents can voice their concerns.

"In 2019, they promised to set up a good neighbour committee," she said. "So ADM, make good on that promise."

The ADM said that it held an online citizen consulation and open-door event and that Campagna attended it.

"Over the past two years, ADM has mainly worked on the development of the proposed scenarios which is a flagship action of the Soundscape Action Plan," said Forest. "The implementation of a neighbourly committee with citizens is still part of the plan. However, this action has been postponed following a review of priorities in 2021 taking into account human and financial resource constraints in the context of the pandemic."

According to airport documents, in 2011, 14 million passengers passed through its gates. In 2023, that number was up to 21 million. However, the ADM pointed out that the number of plane movements decreased during that time from 230,922 in 2011 to 200,758 in 2023, due to higher loads in larger aircrafts.

Campagna has lived in the neighbourhood for 37 years and said the disruptions have only gotten worse.

"Smelling fuel really is upsetting," she said. "Hearing the revving of the engines like in the evening when you open your door on this street, it's very upsetting."

She's worried that with the new plan, that noise will become her new summer soundtrack until 1 a.m. 

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