Hefty penalties imposed on airlines using older, nosier aircraft at Heathrow is resulting in the most modern types being used at the airport.
The London hub hiked charges airlines pay to land the noisiest aircraft earlier this year so that airlines pay an average of ten times more to fly so-called Chapter 3 aircraft than they pay for the quietest equivalents, such as Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
The new generation twinjets are now the fastest growing type at Heathrow, with more than 700 additional flights being made by the aircraft in June compared to last year.
The disclosure came in a new ‘fly quiet and clean’ report published by the airport, showing that airlines are increasingly using the quietest, cleanest aircraft.
The 50 busiest airlines operating at Heathrow from April to June are ranked based on seven noise and emissions metrics.
The study shows Air India climbing an 37 places to fifth in the quarter, in part because of its use of Dreamliners at Heathrow, an aircraft that has 20-25% fewer C02 emissions and a smaller noise effect than the aircraft it replaces.
Air India has also improved its score because of good ‘track keeping’ – the ability to adhere to the government-set noise preferential routes in the skies around Heathrow.
Others keeping on track in the three months also included Singapore Airlines, jumping up 21 places to rank 12th, and Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, SN Brussels, all up by more than 10 places compared to the previous quarter.
Flybe features in the table for the first time in a debut position of 29th.
El Al, near the bottom of the league in 48th place, started operating a Dreamliner to Heathrow this month, which should lead to an improved rank in the next quarter scores.
Aer Lingus was the top performer in the ‘fly quiet and clean’ rankings ahead of British Airways short haul, Etihad Airways, Air Malta and Air India.
British Airways long haul only made 36th place, while Virgin Atlantic was 20th.
Bottom of the list was Kuwait Airways, PIA, El Al, Oman Air and Jet Airways.
The early phasing out of the noisiest aircraft is a key part of Heathrow’s noise blueprint as its prepares to build a third runway.
Becoming the first large European airport to be completely free of Chapter 3 aircraft by 2020 is a key promise in the blueprint.
Heathrow will be working to ensure the trend started this month continues, according to the airport.
Sustainability director Matt Gorman said: “Heathrow airlines continue to bring the best of their fleet to our airport – a trend which not only delivers benefits for our passengers, but also makes our skies quieter and cleaner.
“Upgrading aircraft is the single best way to cut emissions, and to continue to shrink our noise footprint.
“We are pleased to see our efforts, including increasing our charges for noisier aircraft this year, are yielding results and we hope to continue the trend seen this month so our passengers and local communities benefit from Heathrow’s newer, cleaner fleets.”
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