Airplane Noise

San Francisco International Airport International Terminal aerial view of the entrance terminal


Palo Alto is impacted by three arrival routes into San Francisco International Airport (SFO). These routes have had an ongoing negative health impact on our community and intensified due to the implementation of the Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGEN Initiative

The City is committed to working with our citizens, Congress, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), SFO, SFO’s Community Roundtable, neighboring city and county agencies, regional airports, noise groups, and all stakeholders associated with air traffic in Silicon Valley to find solutions which restore the quality of life of our community. 

The City has dedicated staff time, hired expert noise and aviation consultants, outside counsel and federal legislative consultants to advocate for our goals and assist with community education efforts.

Staff and community members are continuing to evaluate San Francisco International Airport's (SFO) proposed Ground Based Augmentation System (GBAS) for its potential impacts on airplane noise over Palo Alto.

Community Meetings

The City of Palo Alto hosted two community meetings with SFO in 2021. Staff contracted ABCx2, LLC, a consultant with aviation flight pattern expertise, to review available information on the proposed GBAS innovative approaches and identify potential risks and benefits regarding airplane noise.

The consultant’s draft final report is available here.(PDF, 16MB)

A third GBAS community meeting was held on April 25, 2022, watch the meeting here. To submit comments or questions, email

Following the April 25, 2022 GBAS community meeting, Palo Alto sent a letter to SFO. The letter(PDF, 414KB) addresses SFO’s failure to consider input from Palo Alto and Palo Alto community members before submitting GBAS Innovative Approaches to the FAA and requests that the Innovative Approaches be withdrawn. It also requests uninterrupted noise monitoring in Palo Alto and the City’s engagement in addressing SERFR noise and Group 2 Innovative Approaches. This response from SFO to the City was received on June 17, 2022.

For more, visit

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