The noisest airlines using Heathrow have been named by the airport in an effort to encourage the use of quieter aircraft.
LOT, El Al, Thai Airways, South African Airways and Finnair were among the worst performers in terms of the noise produced by their aircraft, with each airline given a ‘red’ score in at least one of six categories.
British Airways short haul took top position as the quietest airline operating out of Heathrow followed by Virgin Atlantic’s Little Red.
But BA’s long haul flights gained a red mark for failing to adhere to tight schedules in the early morning – the most sensitive time for nearby residents.
Vueling Airlines and Cathay Pacific also breached time restrictions, landing before 6.30am off-schedule on at least one occasion, the study showed.
Overall, 80% of airlines met all minimum requirements and 94% satisfied five of the six categories in the July to September quarter.
The ‘naming and shaming’ of carriers comes as part of a Fly Quiet initiative by Heathrow, which claims to have become the first UK airport to list airlines according to their noise performance.
A Fly Quiet table will be created every three months, taking the top 50 airlines using Heathrow by number of flights and listing them according to six noise related criteria.
The airlines receive a red/amber/green rating for each criterion, as well as an overall score which allows airlines to understand how they are performing in relation to other airlines.
If they are not meeting the minimum performance targets, Heathrow will work closely with them to improve their rating, the airport said.
The number of movements by new, quieter Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft has doubled in the last year, both in terms of the percentage of movements and the number of airlines operating them – from one to two per cent and from six to 12 airlines.
Five of the top ten airlines in the Fly Quiet table are long-haul operators, highlighting the improved performance of new long-haul aircraft like the A380 and B787.
Heathrow sustainability director Matt Gorman said: “The launch of the Fly Quiet programme signals our firm commitment to being transparent about aircraft noise and our progress in reducing its impact on local communities whilst still safeguarding the vital connectivity and economic growth that Heathrow provides.”
John Stewart, chairman of noise campaign group HACAN, said: “We welcome this initiative from Heathrow. It is a constructive move to improve the noise climate.”
BA head of environment Jonathon Counsell said: “We are very pleased that our short-haul fleet has proved itself the quietest at Heathrow, and we know we can do more.
“Overall, we have a noise reduction target to reduce the average noise per flight by 15% by 2018.
“With the introduction of more new aircraft and continuing operational innovation, we are confident of achieving this for the benefit of communities living around Heathrow and all the airports we serve.
“This autumn we have introduced nine new long-haul aircraft, all of which are significantly quieter than their predecessors, and we will take delivery of more than 30 further aircraft in the next three years.”
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