Some planes using the Portland jetport will fly over dense neighborhoods starting May 14 for about five weeks, but normal flights may resume sooner. Staff file photo by Gordon Chibroski

Neighborhoods along a Portland International Jetport flight path are bracing for weeks of frayed nerves as more planes are routed over their homes.

Jetport officials warned residential areas east of the airfield that the number of early morning and late evening flights will increase for about a month starting May 14 while a taxiway is repaired. Planes will be prevented from taking off and landing over industrial areas to the west of the airport and will sometimes have to approach the airport from the east, flying low over dense residential areas of South Portland, Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough.

“This is the second phase of a project we started last year,” Airport Director Paul Bradbury said in a prepared statement. “Just like last summer, we recognize that this project will impact a number of residents who don’t normally experience aircraft taking off or landing over their homes in the early morning or late evening.”

Planes won’t be flying directly over neighborhoods all the time, Bradbury said in an interview.

In daylight and good weather, pilots can avoid neighborhoods by following the Fore River, known as the “harbor visual approach.” That option isn’t available at night and in bad weather, so planes will use a direct route over Loveitts Field, Willard Square, Ferry Village, Knightville and Cash Corner in South Portland, and possibly parts of Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth.

People in those areas should be ready for planes to leave as early as 5:10 a.m. and to land late into the night – 85 flights are scheduled to land in Portland from May through June between 12:20 a.m. and 12:30 a.m., according to a jetport schedule.

The disruption will last about five weeks until June 14, but normal operations could resume sooner, Bradbury said.

“We will try to beat that; we will be working continuously,” he said. “We wanted to get this done and out of the way as soon as possible.”

Taxiway construction forced pilots to use the eastern approach for about four weeks in May and June last year. The jetport received about 40 noise complaints during those two months, compared with 63 complaints over the same period in 2016, according to jetport statistics.

Overall, 125 people made 442 noise complaints last year, with the vast majority from neighborhoods in South Portland, jetport officials reported.

Some of last year’s complaints were attributed to taxiway construction, but also runway maintenance and scheduled local radar outages that prevented planes from landing over the Fore River.

Peter McGuire can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

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