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Van Nuys Airport (VNY) – Van Nuys, CA

Airport Overview

California’s Van Nuys Airport: Economic Engine, Community Connector

June 17, 2010

When viewed from the vantage of Google Earth’s aerial map, California’s Van Nuys Airport (VNY) appears as a small scratch of open space in the heart of the San Fernando Valley. Located near I-405, the San Diego Freeway, Van Nuys is 20 miles north of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). With Ontario International (ONT) and Palmdale (PMD), they comprise the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) family, overseen by a mayor-appointed 18-member board of commissioners.

Important Economic Contributor

Van Nuys is an important component of the region’s economic makeup, annually contributing $1.3 billion to the Southern California economy. The airport pays for itself, and then some, through lease, rental and user fees, and it generates more than $80 million in tax revenue, says VNY Manager Jess Romo. The airport and its 240 resident businesses employ 2,060 people who are indirectly responsible for another 10,000 jobs.

Van Nuys opened on December 17, 1928, built on 80 acres surrounded by trees and farmland. It grew during World War II as a P-38 training base, and continued growing to its current 730 acres after the Army sold it to LA for $1, retaining an area for the Air National Guard. The control tower started operation in 1968. Today, the airport features five major FBOs and hosts the Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter fleet, which provides crash/rescue services and an airport police bureau, on duty 24/7.

LAWA’s “noise management program strives to balance the needs of airport users and neighbors,” says Romo. In 1985, Los Angeles passed its initial noise abatement ordinance and created a citizens advisory council. It meets monthly and contributed to the master plan that guides the airport through 2026. In 2009, the city launched WebTrak. Displaying traffic (with a 30-minute delay) and noise levels from network monitors, the system shows the community “how aircraft operate in the airspace, and the noise from those operations,” says Environmental Services Manager Robert Freeman.

Community Connector

For nearly 50 years, education has been a prime community connection, annually reaching roughly 50,000 people, says Public & Community Relations Director Diana Sanchez. VNY is home to the Los Angeles School District’s Aircraft Mechanics Program, has adopted nearby schools, holds a summer Aviation Career Education Academy and Aviation Career Day for up 1,400 middle and high schoolers, recognizes young achievers and awards mini-grants to teachers. Roughly 125 tours a year explore the airport.

VNY’s speakers bureau annually addresses more than 60 events while free seminars educate businesses about topics like international trade opportunities. It holds numerous aviation events, says Sanchez, and its public observation and picnic area round out Van Nuys’ efforts to “balance the needs of the airport and its neighbors through effective communication and education about general aviation’s contributions to the community.”

Access Challenges

VNY airport access regulation will continue to represent challenges for the business aviation community. In February 2010, the Los Angeles City Council voted to implement the “VNY Airport Noisier Aircraft Phase-out Project,” which targets primarily Stage 2 aircraft for future exclusion. NBAA has called the proposal unreasonable, and in filings before the council, the Association has cited factual and legal flaws in the document. The Association maintains that a phase-out would be discriminatory and serve no valid purpose. NBAA will monitor the FAA's review of the city council vote and keep Association Members advised as developments unfold.

NBAA continues to work with LAWA, business aviation operators and other airport stakeholders to have meaningful dialogue regarding airport economics, noise issues and community relations. NBAA welcomes Member feedback on this topic via e-mail to NBAA Director, Airports & Infrastructure Jeff Gilley at [email protected].

Latest Developments at Van Nuys Airport

VNY Reopens Primary Runway Following Maintenance Project

Aug. 30, 2013
Tenants and operators at Van Nuys Airport (VNY) celebrated on Aug. 29 the formal reopening of the Southern California airfield's primary runway, 16R/34L, capping a successful seven-month, $20.5 million rehabilitation effort. "Collaborating with key stakeholders early in the process enabled us to develop a mutually beneficial solution and successfully execute the project," said Laddie Irion, senior vice president of project manager HNTB Corp. Read more about the work done at VNY.

NBAA Members, Local Leaders Help Save A&P Program at Van Nuys

May 22, 2013
The Aircraft Mechanics Program at Southern California’s Van Nuys Airport (VNY) has been a vital part of the local aviation community for more than 30 years, but it almost had to close its doors this year – until a group of airport businesses and civic leaders joined forces to secure a $1-a-year lease for the school. Established by the Los Angeles Unified School District and run by the district’s North Valley Occupational Center, the school trains nearly 200 students a year in airframe and powerplant (A&P) maintenance. It’s one of the only A&P programs of its kind open to high school students and provides both classroom instruction and hands-on training at the school’s Van Nuys hangar. Read more about the A&P school at VNY.

Operators Can Get VNY Runway Closure Info Via Hotline, Website

November, 16 2012
Van Nuys Airport’s (VNY) project to rehabilitate its 8,000-foot-long primary runway is mobilizing, with construction set to begin in April 2013. The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners has awarded a contract for the work to Security Paving Co., of Sun Valley, Calif., and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) – the airport department of the city government – launched an awareness campaign at NBAA’s Annual Meeting & Convention (NBAA2012) to keep VNY tenants and pilots informed about construction-related changes. VNY aims to make a detailed, real-time schedule with specific dates for full and partial runway closures available on its VNY runway improvement project website and hotline in late December, prior to its briefing and workshop for VNY tenants in January. Read more about the project.

VNY Runway Rehab Project Will Minimize Downtime

September 27, 2012
Rehabilitation of Van Nuys Airport's (VNY) 8,000-foot-long primary runway is slated to start in February, funded mainly by an $18.4 million FAA Airport Improvement Program grant awarded on Sept. 7. The project's success is a testament to collaboration among members of the Van Nuys Airport Association, a nonprofit tenants group; NBAA; and the Los Angeles World Airports. If all goes according to plan, the contractor should begin construction in February 2013 and last eight to nine months. Read more about the project.

NBAA: Nighttime Ban at California Airports Won't Fly

February 28, 2011
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen today told four congressmen that a proposed ban on nighttime flights at Bob Hope Burbank (BUR) and Van Nuys (VNY) airports in southern California would hurt local businesses and severely impede interstate air commerce. "This amendment would establish exactly the type of 'patchwork quilt' of local restrictions that the 1990 Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA) was designed to prevent," said Bolen in a letter to the congressmen. Learn more and review the letter.

NBAA Continues to Oppose Proposed Curfew at Burbank and Van Nuys Airports

August 16, 2010
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen wrote to the ranking officials on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in response to a proposed nighttime curfew at Bob Hope Burbank Airport (BUR) and Van Nuys Airport (VNY). In a letter to Reps. James L. Oberstar (D-8-MN) and John Mica (R-7-FL), Bolen said that a nighttime curfew would impact the utility of the national air transportation system as a whole. Reps. Brad Sherman (D-27-CA), Howard Berman (D-28-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-29-CA) requested that language be inserted in the pending FAA reauthorization bill to authorize a ban on aircraft operations between the hours of 10pm and 7am at the airports. “NBAA and our member companies are committed to working with communities through local fly friendly programs, aircraft upgrades to stage 4 technology and using aircraft specific departure and arrival profiles,” said Bolen.

Review the NBAA Letter (54KB, PDF)

Business Aviation Opponents in CA Take Their Case to Congress

August 2, 2010
Business aviation access at some California airports has been in contentious debate for years, as officials with Van Nuys (VNY) and Bob Hope (BUR) Airports have lobbied for restrictions on business airplanes from using the airports. NBAA Members have been given cause for renewed concern over the issue, because the airport officials have taken their case to Congress. At the urging of officials with VNY and BUR, California Reps. Brad Sherman (D-27-CA), Howard Berman (D-28-CA), and Adam Schiff (D-29-CA) sent a July 21 letter to Reps. James Oberstar (D-8-MN), and John Mica (R-7-FL) – Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the powerful U.S. House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure – requesting an exemption for VNY and BUR from the federal statute disallowing airports from enacting restrictions without approval from FAA officials. Read the full article on the issue.

LA City Council Votes to Ban Stage 2 Aircraft from VNY

March 1, 2010
On February 26, the Los Angeles City Council voted to ban Stage 2 aircraft from Van Nuys Airport (VNY) within six years. NBAA has called the proposal unreasonable, and in filings before the council, the Association has cited factual and legal flaws in the proposal. The Association maintains that a phase-out would be discriminatory and serve no valid purpose. NBAA will monitor the FAA's review of the city council vote and keep Association Members advised as developments unfold.

Access Challenges at California Airports: Van Nuys In Focus

July 27, 2009
This NBAA Flight Plan podcast provides the third installment in a four-part series about challenges to access at general aviation airports in California, and the potential of those challenges to set precedent at airports elsewhere. Jol Silversmith, an associate with the law firm Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger, LLP, discusses the situation at Van Nuys Airport, and what NBAA and local leaders in the business aviation community are doing to represent the industry.

Listen to the podcast. (2MB, MP3)

NBAA Comments on Possible Van Nuys Stage 2 Aircraft Ban

May 18, 2009
Despite opposition from NBAA, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) has recommended that the Los Angeles City Council adopt an ordinance which would phase out Stage 2 aircraft at Van Nuys Airport over a seven-year period. In earlier comments, NBAA had noted serious factual and legal flaws in the proposal.  In a May 15, 2009 letter to the City Council’s Transportation Committee, NBAA again argued that a phase-out would be highly discriminatory and serve no valid purpose.  Although a phase-out is projected to affect only five flights per day in 2014, those flights are of critical importance to the operators and the community; and there would be no offsetting environmental benefits. 

Review the May 15 letter from NBAA counsel (1.5 MB, PDF)

NBAA Comments on Proposal for Stage 2 Aircraft Phase-Out at Van Nuys

May 4, 2009
NBAA last month filed comments on a proposal by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) to phase out Stage 2 aircraft at Van Nuys Airport (VNY) over a seven-year period. Revisions made to an earlier draft from 2008 have not resolved factual and legal flaws in the proposal. According to LAWA, the phase-out, first proposed in 1990, can be implemented without FAA review or approval because it is sanctioned by the federal Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 (ANCA). NBAA’s position is that ANCA is not applicable to the 19-year break between the proposal and adoption of restrictions and that LAWA’s factual justifications for the proposal are flawed. The phase-out would eliminate an average of only five operations per day, and the evicted aircraft would relocate to other airports in the Los Angeles area, resulting in an overall increase in noise and emissions for the region.

Review NBAA Comments (290KB, PDF)

NBAA Comments on VNY Stage 2 Phase Out Proposal

December 8, 2008
NBAA filed comments in response to a proposal by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) to implement a seven-year phase out of Stage 2 (and some hush-kitted Stage 3) aircraft at Van Nuys Airport (VNY). LAWA asserted that the phase-out, which originally was proposed in 1990, was "grandfathered" by federal law and could be implemented without FAA review or approval. In its comments, NBAA acknowledged that the federal Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 (ANCA) exempted from FAA scrutiny some restrictions that had been proposed before its adoption, but asserted that ANCA was not intended to sanction an 18-year break in continuity between the proposal and adoption of restrictions. NBAA further observed that the Mayor of Los Angeles had formally rejected the proposed restrictions in 1992, and that ANCA only grandfathers restrictions on Stage 2 aircraft and not Stage 3 aircraft.  As a result, LAWA's proposal can be implemented only after FAA review. 

NBAA also pointed out that LAWA's asserted justifications for the restrictions are fundamentally flawed.  By LAWA's own account, the restrictions would eliminate an average of only five operations per day at Van Nuys, and result in no meaningful reduction in noise or emissions for surrounding communities.  But the evicted aircraft would relocate to other airports in the Los Angeles area, resulting in an overall increase in noise and emissions for the region. 

View NBAA's comments (828KB, PDF)