House and Senate conferees failed at a fifth session yesterday to reach agreement on a controversial measure that would ease federal aircraft noise abatement standards, but Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Howard W. Cannon (D-Nev.) proposed some compromises that could break the logjam.
One of the most important would solve a thorny issue unrelated to the measure but attached to it by House Majority Leader James Wright (D-Texas). Wright's amendment, passes by the House twice, would eliminate interstate low-fare air service by Southwest Airlines at Dallas' Love Field.
Wright wants all interstate service solely at Dallas/Fort Worth Regional Airport which is closer to his hometown of Fort Worth.
Sen. Cannon, who isn't enthusiastic about the amendment at all, proposed freezing Love Field's interestate service at its current level -- Southwest flies to New Orleans from Love -- unless the City of Dallas reaches agreement with an airline."This puts it back where it belongs -- in Dallas," Cannon said. "It's a local problem that should be left to local solution."
House conferees took the plan under advisement.
Cannon also suggested that he pull back on some of the provisions in the Senate bill that allow airlines to continue using planes that do not meet stringent noise standards that come into effect in 1983 and 1985 so long as they already have ordered quiet new planes to replace them. While seeming receptive to that proposal, House conferees weren't receptive to Cannon's insistence that the airlines shouldn't be required to alter planes to meet the standards if the noise level wouldn't be reduced by a perceptible amount.