For people living in local areas close to airports, noise is often seen as the most significant environmental impact. This is why one of our One Destination goals is to reduce our average noise per flight by 15%. This is possible through replacement of our older fleet by new aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A380. We had originally planned to meet this target by 2015 but, due to delays in the fleet replacement programme, we now expect to meet this target by 2018.
In line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) ‘Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise Management’ we are doing a number of things in order to reduce aircraft noise impacts.
Reducing noise ‘at source’
This means reducing the amount of noise produced by our aircraft, something we will achieve by introducing improved technology. New aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and the Airbus 380, produce a quarter of the noise during the approach phase of flight, compared to the older 747-400.
Improved Operational Procedures
We also aim to improve the way we operate our aircraft, with a particular focus on take-offs and landings.
We are supporting work by the UK’s Air Traffic Control service (NATS) to introduce ‘Continuous Climb Departures’. These will allow aircraft to climb away from the ground more quickly, reducing noise at ground level.
As part of leading the airline industry in promoting best practice for minimising noise we have developed ‘Continuous Descent Approaches’ for landing. This means that aircraft come in at a more constant speed and rate of descent, reducing noise impacts and fuel burn. At Heathrow, we are currently achieving a Continuous Descent Approach for 96 per cent* of daytime landings compared to an airport average of 85 per cent*.
*Based on data Jan-Nov 2011