Airplane Noise: What’s Happening?

City Council Member Linea Palmisano met in September, 2014 with representatives of the Metropolitan Airport Commission (MAC) to discuss the increase in airplane noise over Southwest Minneapolis. A special newsletter was issued to address the problem of airplane noise in Ward 13.


The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) has decided to implement RNAV at MSP for arrivals only, while RNAV departures were “postponed for further study and community input.”

What does this mean for residents?

  • The implementation date for RNAV arrivals is not yet known by the MAC staff, but likely the end of this year
  • It appears that RNAV arrivals tracks will result in little or no change from current arrivals, since RNAV arrival tracks are essentially the same as the current flight paths
  • There is ongoing concern that the often-cited benefit of RNAV arrivals – noise reduction due to a straight descent vs. multiple tiered step-down descent- will bring relief only to communities farther away from the airport and not necessarily affect those closer to the airport, including Minneapolis residents
  • There is also concern about the distance between arriving planes (nose to tail.) Some airports have found that RNAV technology allows for closer distances between planes, which will INCREASE the frequency and noise of these arrival tracks

MSP FairSkies and other organizations are continuing to work with state and federal legislators on these issues. To learn more about how airport changes will impact residents, please visit Contact Steve Kittleson at with questions.