Denver, CO

How to complain about Denver airport noise

David Heitz
Photo bySpencer Imbrock/Unsplash

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) No matter where you live in Denver, you’re likely to hear aircraft noise from time to time. While it can be disruptive, rest assured that Denver International Airport is doing all it can to keep noise to a minimum.

The airport uses software that monitors noise and makes noise predictions. The Business, Arts, Workforce and Aviation Committee of the Denver City Council will vote Wednesday whether to add $450,000 to a contract with Harris, Miller & Hanson, Inc. for noise metrics analysis consulting services. The city already has spent $1.3 million with the company on airport acoustics services over the past 13 years. Even if the committee approves the expenditure, the full council still must sign off on it.

The airport does not put the noise monitoring contract out to bid. According to a memo to council, only Harris, Miller & Hanson, Inc. can provide the services needed to analyze the effects of DEN aircraft noise on surrounding communities. “DEN relies on HMMH’s proprietary software for analysis and prediction of DEN's noise impacts. There is no other source for the required software.”

According to the contract, services may include “analysis of the acoustic effects of various changes to air traffic control procedures and associated airspace modification, prediction and analysis of the effects of air traffic noise limit compliance, and an analysis of the general effect of aircraft noise in communities.”

How to file an aircraft noise complaint

DEN has an easy online system for reporting aircraft noise. Those who hear the rumble of jet engines can go online and see airplanes taking off and landing at DEN in real-time. Each aircraft includes a flight number as well as the speed and the altitude of the aircraft. The flight number is needed for making noise complaints online.

To make a complaint, users can click on the hamburger menu and select “create complaint.” Then just follow directions to submit your report.

You can also file a complaint over the phone with the airport’s noise hotline. “Citizens are asked to leave their name, address, and the date and time of their complaint on the hotline,” according to the quarterly noise report. “Complaints are downloaded daily by our noise officers and then transcribed into the Noise and Operations Management System, where specific complaints can be matched to individual flight tracks. It is essential for all information to be entered correctly in order for the system to be effective.”

According to an airport report, seven households filed at least one complaint each about noise in the first quarter of 2023.

Be nice when making your complaint

Apparently, some people express anger when they call the hotline. “Profanity will not be tolerated, and will result in the complaint not being registered,” the airport warns in the noise report. “Any attempt to deliberately tie-up or abuse the Hotline may result in police action.”

Don’t count on your complaint leading to flight changes at the airport. “The Federal Aviation Administration has the sole authority in determining where aircraft will fly and how the airport will operate,” according to the airport’s frequently asked questions about noise complaints. “These decisions are made solely on standard air traffic control procedures. Noise complaints are not considered when making these decisions. However, considerable time and effort are spent on a daily basis in handling and analyzing complaints.”

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at community newspapers in Southern California and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am proof that people can rebound from even severe mental illness with proper treatment. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living in the Mile High City. You can email me news releases and story ideas at

Denver, CO

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