Emirates is pressing for clearance to operate night flights at Heathrow by Airbus A380 superjumbos.

The Dubai carrier claims the A380 is relatively quiet compared to Boeing 747s and some other aircraft even though it is the world’s largest passenger aircraft.

Emirates, the largest operator of the A380, estimates that steeper-than-normal descents into Heathrow would reduce the superjumbo’s noise impact around Heathrow by 15% to 20%.

President Tim Clark told the Financial Times that the new breed of quieter wide-body jets, led by the A380, should benefit from a reduced night curfew, running from 1am to 4am.

This could enable Heathrow to increase the number of flights beyond the current annual limit of 480,000.

“If you can demonstrate that the noise profile of aircraft is that much quieter, why not look at that as a means of growing capacity at constrained hub airports?” Clark said.

The move would enable Emirates to increase the number of flights to its Dubai hub from five to seven a day.

The idea is seen as providing a way of increasing the number of flights at Heathrow following the government’s decision to rule out a third runway because of environmental concerns and a campaign by local residents objecting to jet noise.

Heathrow owner BAA said: “Advances in technology are delivering quieter aircraft and the industry is looking seriously at innovative and better ways of operating aircraft to reduce noise over time. We would encourage the government to take into account these new possibilities.”