How Boston airport muffles the din

Boston's Logan International Airport, closer to the core of town than most big-city airfields, is an example of successful efforts to relieve the surrounding area from airport din.

A recent report by the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates Logan, claimed that 65,000 people living near the airport hear less aircraft noise than they did in 1976. The number of people affected by noise at night, the report says, has been nearly cut in half. At the same time, Logan air passenger traffic grew 29 percent, cargo volume was hiked 22 percent, and 18 new carriers entered the Boston market.

The Boston airport has wedded air traffic growth and noise abatement by:

* Expanding the nighttime hours when quieter planes must be used.

* Taking maximum-noise-level violators to court. Since 1977, the East Boston District Court has levied $135,000 worth of fines on 16 airlines for 289 violations.

* Designating preferential runways. The FAA's 1980 decision to allow airliners to take off over the water has dramatically cut back airport noise.

* Coaxing many airlines into using their quietest aircraft on their Boston flights.

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