The City of Livermore is currently reviewing a proposal from KaiserAir to add a new phased fixed-base operator facility on a 45-acre parcel at the airport. When completed, the facility would include a 6.5-acre concrete apron, offices, a terminal, hangar space, maintenance service facilities, a self-fueling station, and fuel storage facilities. KaiserAir states that they intend to use the facility to store and service aircraft that they use to provide charter flights out of Oakland and Sonoma County airports. More detail regarding the proposal is provided in the attached staff report of the Livermore Airport Commission. Additional information about the proposal is also provided in the FAQs below provided by the City of Livermore in response to the concerns of Pleasanton, Livermore, and Dublin residents. Note that regular commercial passenger flight service is not permitted out of Livermore Airport.
KaiserAir has committed to adhering to the airport’s Voluntary Restraint from Night Flying, and will be an active participant in mitigating noise impacts. In addition, all aircraft going into or out of the Livermore Airport are encouraged to adhere to the Visual Flight Rules (VFR) procedures as illustrated in the attachment to the right.
The proposal requires review by three different Livermore government bodies. The Livermore Airport Commission reviewed the project on February 8, 2021 and voted to recommend approval of the project to the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission will review the project for compliance with relevant City design standards and land use policies (similar to other development proposals). The review by the Planning Commission has not yet been scheduled. The project must also go to the Livermore City Council for review and consideration of the lease of the land to KaiserAir. This will not occur until after the Planning Commission review and therefore it also has not been scheduled. Both the Planning Commission and City Council Meetings will be well advertised and open to the public, and will be added to this website page as soon as they are scheduled.
On August 17, 2021, the Pleasanton City Council discussed the growing number of resident noise complaints from aircraft flying in and out of Livermore Airport. The Council expressed concern about the recent and potential future activities at the airport, including: 1) increased disturbances due to aircraft overflights over the past few years; 2) the proposed new KaiserAir Fixed Based Operator (FBO) application which could significantly increase the number of flights and related disturbances; 3) lack of sustained dialogue and partnership commitments made by both City Councils in 2010; and 4) lack of adherence to voluntary nighttime-noise abatement and flight-path programs adopted with good intent by Livermore, including more robust follow-up with City of Pleasanton residents regarding registered noise complaints.
Increased Disturbances. The number of flights at the airport in 2020 was less than in previous years; however, it appears that flights in the first six months of 2021 exceeds 2019 operations for the same period by nearly 16 percent. An increased number of flights appear to violate the voluntary guidelines Livermore adopted to restrict night flying and recommended flight paths. The City of Pleasanton has received over 85 emails and a petition with over 6,000 signatures concerning such violations in recent months. Residents increasingly report experiencing disturbances from jet traffic, which also accounts for over 60 percent of complaints received by airport staff. While some may attribute these concerns to more residents working from home during the pandemic, many of the concerns appear to be from overflights during nights and weekends, at times unimpacted by work schedules. Livermore Airport data documents a more than 14 percent increase in flights over the last 12 months compared to the previous period. During that same period, fuel sales increased over 33 percent.
KaiserAir. The KaiserAir full-service FBO proposal would provide 162,000 square feet of additional hanger complex space. Without knowing the exact number and type of additional aircraft those hangars will accommodate, based on the proposed facility size it would be reasonable to conclude it would be greater than three KaiserAir Boeing 737’s proposed to be stored at the facility. The potential increase in flights and type of aircraft flights generated by the new facility is concerning. The Pleasanton City Council has requested the City of Livermore provide adequate environmental impact analysis of the project and potential mitigations under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Lack of Sustained Partnership on 2010 Resolutions. The joint resolution adopted by the Cities of Livermore and Pleasanton in 2010 outlined several practices for minimizing airport impacts on the Tri-Valley community and for ongoing partnership between the cities. The resolution identified several actions necessary to advance this goal, including the following:
In a letter dated November 19, 2021, the Pleasanton City Council reiterated its request to schedule a meeting of the Livermore/Pleasanton Liaison Committee for the purpose of re-engaging on these issues in the spirit of the 2010 resolutions.
Inadequacy of Implementation of Voluntary Noise Restrictions. The Pleasanton City Council strongly supports the Airport’s voluntary nighttime flying restrictions and the visual flight rules programs. However, based on the large number of public comments the City has received, the effectiveness of these voluntary restrictions appear to be waning or are being more frequently disregarded. Pleasanton’s Council has requested the City of Livermore redouble its commitment to this program and urged Livermore to implement improved flight tracking technology to better identify non-accommodating flights. It also requested Livermore evaluate increased consequences for repeated lack of adherence and the allocation of additional resources for educating pilots regarding these restrictions. Additionally, the Council requested that existing and future FBOs should be held accountable through their ground lease agreements and/or other locally available mandates.
Noise Studies. Earlier this year Livermore Airport staff contacted Pleasanton staff and invited our participation in a new airport noise study. The two staffs worked collaboratively to select monitoring sites and review the scope of work to be completed. The noise measurements were taken in May and preliminary results were reported in a June 16, 2021, memo. To date, we have only been provided the preliminary average noise data and are still pending the single event noise data which is the source of most noise disturbances. A second series of noise measurements were scheduled to take place in November 2021; we expect to receive the results of that study by the end of January 2022.
In recent weeks, after the news of the Kaiser Air proposal was reported in the news, the cities of Dublin, Pleasanton, and Livermore have all experienced a large increase in complaints about airport noise and non-compliance with the City of Livermore's voluntary noise reductions policies. Compliance with these policies is "voluntary" because FAA regulations prohibit the enforcement of any local requirements beyond those imposed by the FAA. However, the City of Livermore has had some success with convincing users of the airport to comply. The City has also heard from residents that flights to and from the airport have significantly increased. The number of operations (i.e., either a take-off or landing) in the last five years is provided below: the number of operations has been increasing with the exception of 2020, however there are fewer operations in and out of the airport than in other previous years (e.g., over 282,000 operations in the early 1990s.)