Van Nuys residents express concern over potential Van Nuys Airport expansion

Nathan Wang

Communities in the San Fernando Valley have expressed their concern over the possibility of a Van Nuys Airport expansion, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

The Van Nuys Airport, which dedicates almost all its services to general aviation, hosts thousands of non-commercial flights, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. Rather than buying more land, the potential expansion of the Van Nuys Airport would mean construction on the existing 730 acres of land. Opponents of the airport’s expansion argue that an increase in general aviation will further increase the number of take-offs and landings per day. For the approximately 1.8 million residents in the San Fernando Valley, a potential expansion of the airport’s operations would mean heightened air and noise pollution daily.

Encino resident Charlotte Whang ’25 said the harm of pollution outweighs the benefits of expanding the airport.

“I think that sometimes a lot of people tend to forget that we were only given one Earth to live on,” Whang said. “It’s our duty as human beings to take care of and respect it. I think that while expanding the airport does sound quite appealing for logistical [and] practical reasons, there are a million more [reasons] for why it’s more important to continue to protect our earth.”

The Van Nuys Airport is close to small businesses, residential communities and the practice course for the Girls’ Varsity Golf Team.

Varsity golfer Kaydence Kim ’25 said the potential expansion of the airport could complicate practices and inter-school matches due to the significant noise pollution.

“Our coach works at the [Encino Golf] Course, so we get access to both of the courses plus the practice facilities,” Kim said. “Because we rely so much on the courses to practice, [the airport’s expansion] would have a significant impact on our ability to practice as a team. We also host a lot of our school matches at the course. With the increased noise and pollution from the potential construction going on nearby, I could imagine that trying to stay focused during essential matches would be more complex than usual.”

Kim said that an increase in air pollution would make the Encino Golf Course unfit for most recreational golfers outside of the school.

“The expansion would also negatively impact the people that regularly go there to practice,” Kim said. “People play golf because it offers recreation and leisure. The environmental impact alone that an airport expansion would have could lead to issues such as negative impacts on human health and the surrounding environment. In addition, the increased aircraft activity would take away from the overall relaxing experience for golfers.”

Micah Parr ’25 said the possibility of expansion would not fairly represent all members of the community.

“I am generally more against the Van Nuys expansion given how bad private planes are for the environment,” Parr said. [The airport’s operations are] also only for private businesses so it doesn’t help many people outside the business world.”

Former employee near the Van Nuys Airport Jesse Leos said reforms should be focused on improving the community infrastructure rather than expanding the Van Nuys Airport.

“[The airport is]so close [to] Sherman Way, which is already an impacted Street, and the expansion is going to add congestion to that,” Leos said. “It [will] conflict [with] people’s commute to work. There’s just a lot of Section Eight housing [around the airport] too and  [the airport expansion would be] adding more chaos to already struggling people. There’s just that part of the valley that’s not really healthy for people to live in. I just feel like [the possibility of the airport expanding is] more neglectful toward that and we’re not really paying attention to how are we going to support these people.”

Natasha Clement ’24 said private planes are often detriments to the environment as well.

“Personally, I don’t think an increase in private plane use is a good idea,” Clement said. “In addition to the obvious issues with fossil fuel consumption, more regular private flights will lead to more overall air and noise pollution. Both types of pollution can harm wildlife which is already threatened.”