The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington yesterday rejected the latest effort by Fairfax County officials to block Concorde supersonic jetliner flights into and out of Dulles International Airport.
In a one-sentence order, the appeals court refused to review noise standards set by the Federal Aviation Administration in June 1978 that exempt the Concorde from noise limits set for other supersonic aircraft.
The county had contended that an environmental impact statement prepared by the FAA had failed to adequately discuss the impact of Concorde noise levels on areas near the airport runways and on future plans for development in those areas, accordng to Justice Department lawyer Peter R. Steenland.
Steenland said the FAA argued it had submitted a variety of documentation on Concorde noise and had considered the question of environmental impact as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.
The Fairfax County Attorney's office said yesterday it would have no comment until receiving formal notification of the court's decision.
Steenland said the FAA's decision to exempt the 16 existing Concordes from noise level standards for other supersonic aircraft followed a determination that Concorde noise-levels were as low as technologically possible for that aircraft.
The FAA noise standards do provide that future supersonic aircraft will have to be as quiet as non-supersonic aircraft manufactured at the same time, Steenland said.
Steenland said Fairfax County officials, who have been engaged in an ongoing battle with the FAA over the Concorde, could take the appeals court decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Concorde began regular service at Dulles in 1976 on a 16-month trial basis, during which time noise and environmental tests and a public opinion survey were conducted in June 1978, then Transportation Secretary Brock Adams opened Concorde flights to airports in 13 U.S. cities. The Concorde now flies out of New York, Dallas and Washington.