Aircraft noise at Gatwick was cut by 7% last year but the airport needs to do more to further reduce its impact on local communities.

The airport cited improved operational procedures – including smoother descents that reduce drag and use less power – the phasing out of the noisiest aircraft and the introduction of new, quieter aircraft for cutting its noise footprint over 2017 levels.

Cumulatively, 900 people have been taken out of Gatwick’s noise footprint as it shrank 11% over the last two years.

The next generation of aircraft – including the Airbus A320neo, A321neo and A350; and Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner – are up to 50% quieter than their predecessors.

Airline fleets operating from Gatwick will be dominated by quieter aircraft of this kind in the future.

Airport forecasts show that new aircraft will make up 86% of Gatwick’s aircraft fleet by 2032-33, up from 3% in 2017-18.

Gatwick head of airspace Andy Sinclair said:“We are making good progress against our objective of reducing the impact that aircraft noise has on our local communities, but we recognise that more must be done.

“We will continue to challenge ourselves and our industry partners and will be introducing a range of new initiatives to reduce noise further in coming years.”

He added: “Over time, aircraft noise has dramatically reduced at Gatwick and in the next few years I expect to see further improvements as more next generation aircraft are introduced in significant numbers. 

The large-scale redesign of airspace across south-east England is also underway and has the potential to significantly reduce noise impacts around the airport.”

But a spokesman for Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (Cagne) said: “Gatwick continues to cherry pick who they consult and the news stories they release to mislead communities that noise is being reduced.

“Planes may have become quieter but it is the frequency by which they are flown, the targeting of communities with concentrated flight paths, and the total disregard for the impact they are having on residents house values, wellbeing and climate change.”