Are noisy planes charged fees or penalties when they fly at night?

No, federal regulations do not allow the MAC to charge different fees to aircraft operators on a basis of aircraft type or time of day.

All seven of the MAC-owned airports, including MSP, are public-use transportation facilities. As such, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits the MAC from charging differential fees for the purpose of controlling noise exposure without obtaining federal approval in accordance with 14 CFR Part 161-Notice and Approval of Airport Noise and Access Restrictions (Part 161).

The Part 161 evaluation and approval process requires that the MAC conduct a cost versus benefit analysis and an analysis that supports, by substantial evidence, that six statutory conditions for approval have been met. The six statutory conditions are as follows:

  1. the restriction is reasonable, nonarbitrary, and nondiscriminatory;
  2. the restriction does not create an undue burden on interstate or foreign commerce;
  3. the restriction is not inconsistent with maintaining the safe and efficient use of the navigable airspace;
  4. the restriction does not conflict with a law or regulation of the United States;
  5. an adequate opportunity has been provided for public comment on the restriction; and
  6. the restriction does not create an undue burden on the national aviation system.

The use of a differential fee structure for noise control efforts would fail the first criteria because it would discriminate against an aircraft that is certificated, and thus can legally operate in the United States.  

For more information about airports where noise rules were requested, including MSP, click here: Part 161.

Updated 12/24/2016