LAS VEGAS (AP) -- New Federal Aviation Administration guidelines for aircraft noise at the Grand Canyon will offer incentives to tour operators who use quiet aircraft technology.
New FAA regulations set noise levels for the helicopters and airplanes that carry 800,000 tourists over and to the Grand Canyon each year. More than half of canyon tours originate in Las Vegas. Others begin in Arizona.
FAA spokesman Henry Price in Washington, D.C., called the rules ''the next of many steps toward restoring the natural quiet in the Grand Canyon National Park.''
Previous regulations have included restrictions on the number of flights, and requirements that tour operators stay within specified flight routes.
Under the new rules, all aircraft would be allowed to continue flying over the park, but tour operators who lessen noise might be allowed to add tours on more routes through the canyon.
The search for peace over the Grand Canyon dates to 1987, when Congress directed the FAA and the National Park Service to achieve ''natural quiet'' at the park.
After years of dispute, the agencies defined natural quiet as when half of the park is free of aircraft noise 75 percent to 100 percent of the time.
The Federal Aviation Administration has issued new regulations that encourage air sightseeing tour operators to use newer, quieter aircraft in Grand Canyon National Park.
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