The noise footprint at Heathrow continues to shrink with 52,000 fewer households impacted by noise compared to 2006, according to a new study for the airport.
Independent analysis from the Civil Aviation Authority commissioned by Heathrow, shows that the average aircraft noise contours continue to grow smaller.
The analysis, which has been undertaken regularly since 2006, forms part of the airport’s noise action plan and a pledge to deliver more regular and transparent communications to local residents.
The area around the airport affected by average noise measurements over the course of a 24-hour operating day, as measured using the preferred European measure of noise, has decreased by 15% over the past 11 years.
This means 15% fewer households within the area are impacted by noise. Had the population and households remained static during this period, there would be 21% fewer homes affected by these noise levels, according to Heathrow.
This report is published at the same time as the latest quarterly ‘fly quiet and green’ results, ranking the performance of 50 airlines on seven noise and emission metrics from July to September.
Airlines are improving ‘track keeping’ – the ability to adhere to government-set departure noise preferential routes in the skies from Heathrow – and deploying their ‘greenest’ aircraft to the UK hub.
Air India was ranked as the quietest carrier flying to Heathrow in the three months to September, up 41 places since the first league table ranking performance from January to March. The airline’s Heathrow fleet is made up almost exclusively of new generation Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Oman Air’s performance has drastically improved, following “engagement” with Heathrow’s noise team on how to improve its operations.
Oman Air achieved a 98% ‘track keeping’ record helping to boost its position 15 places since June.
Other ‘track keeping’ winners include China Southern, up 17 places since June, and regional airline Flybe improving its position from 29th to 18th place.
The airport has doubled the fee charged to airlines using the oldest and noisiest aircraft based on nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
This means environmental landing charges for airlines have gone up from £8.57 per kg of NOx emitted to £16.51 per kg as an incentive for airlines to use cleaner aircraft.
The noisiest aicraft will face a trebling in charges to £9,000 per landing.
The airport’s sustainability director Matt Gorman said: “Heathrow has some of the world’s toughest rules and regulations on noise, which have played a major role in driving developments in quieter aircraft technology.
“Over the past 30 years, we have managed to more than double our passenger numbers whilst decreasing our noise footprint to its smallest levels yet – this is testament to the efforts of Heathrow and our airline and manufacturing partners to reduce the impact of the operations.”
He added: “While we mark significant progress today with more airlines changing their operations in response to the ‘fly quiet and green’ league table, we also know that we need to continue to develop how we communicate on noise.
“This new ‘super report’ contains a range of new metrics that will better inform the next noise action plan and give our local community a clearer picture of noise patterns around the airport and the opportunities to reduce noise further still.”
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