Heathrow to rank airlines based on noise performance to reduce impact

30 May 2013 (Last Updated May 30th, 2013 18:30)

London Heathrow Airport in the UK is set to reveal the names of airlines that breach noise limits as part of its overall efforts to reduce aircraft noise impact on the surrounding community.

BA aircraft, Heathrow NOise

London Heathrow Airport in the UK is set to reveal the names of airlines that breach noise limits as part of its overall efforts to reduce aircraft noise impact on the surrounding community.

In its latest report, 'A quieter Heathrow', Europe's busiest airport also revealed plans to significantly increase fines on airlines that violate day and night noise limits.

As part of the noise mitigation effort, the airport will launch its 'Fly Quiet' programme during late 2013, which will publicly rank airlines based on their noise performance at Heathrow.

Heathrow's efforts to build a third runway were shelved in 2010 by UK Prime Minister David Cameron following protest from local residents and environmental groups.

According to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the aircraft noise at Heathrow affects around 700,000 local residents.

Heathrow airport is also trialling new departure routes with the UK's air navigation service provider NATS and planes to trial steeper approaches by aircraft, while replacing the existing schemes with a new noise insulation scheme for homes and offices around the airport.

Heathrow CEO Colin Matthews said that the airport is trying to minimise aircraft noise and as a result, even though the number of flights has almost doubled since the 1970s, fewer people are affected by noise.

"As part of the noise mitigation effort, the airport will launch its 'Fly Quiet' programme during late 2013, which will publicly rank airlines based on their noise performance at Heathrow."

"We will continue to work with airlines, NATS, policy makers and local communities to further reduce aircraft noise whilst safeguarding the vital connectivity and economic growth that Heathrow provides," Matthews said.

The report focuses on five areas including quieter planes, quieter operating procedures, noise mitigation and land-use planning, operating restrictions and working with local communities.

In addition, the airport is implementing operating restrictions that permit only a limited number of night flights by an annual cap, with noise restrictions on aircraft leaving late at night and early in the morning.

According to a study by Sustainable Aviation, by 2050 improvements in aircraft technology will enable doubling the number of flights in the UK without an increase in aircraft noise.

The UK government has set up a commission under the chairmanship of Howard Davies to look into airport expansion in the country, which will submit its report in mid-2015.


Image: Noise produced by airlines at Heathrow airport affect about 700,000 local residents. Photo: courtesy of LHR Airports Limited.