Second year of Fly Quiet League at Heathrow shows planes are getting quieter


By Heathrow

Published 17th December 2015

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The Heathrow Fly Quiet League has celebrated its second year with some big results in encouraging airlines to use newer aircraft and reduce noise.


  • League table shows increasing use of quiet flight procedure “Continuous Descent Approach” by airlines at Heathrow

  • Heathrow’s technical teams have coordinated with LOT to transform their quieter arrivals performance

  • Finnair modifies their A-321 fleet at Heathrow with quieter technology

  • Top quiet performers are amongst biggest airlines operating at Heathrow

Heathrow’s Fly Quiet League, the UK’s only ranking of airlines according to their noise performance, along with Heathrow’s tough limits and restrictions on noise, are successfully encouraging airlines to use their newest fleets at the airport and operate them in quieter ways. The news comes as the League marks its second year anniversary.

LOT leads the way in Continous Descent Approach improvement

In the last two years, Fly Quiet League rankings have shown a clear upward trend in airlines’ use of the quiet flight procedure “Continuous Descent Approach” (CDA).  This arrival procedure requires less engine thrust and keeps the aircraft higher for longer, helping to reduce noise. Since the launch of the Fly Quiet League, Polish operator LOT has almost doubled its use of CDA to 98 per cent.

From July to September this year, 258 out of 263 LOT arrivals used this quieter approach into Heathrow. This dramatic improvement is due in large part to Heathrow’s collaborative approach to working with its airlines to encourage them to reduce their impacts on local communities.

The Fly Quiet League has also shown that the aircraft used at the airport over the course of two years are on average, newer and quieter. As a case in point, the latest results from July to September show Finnair’s technological modifications and recertification of its A-321 fleet have made these aircraft quieter and improved the airline’s score this quarter.

The first large European airport to be free of the noisiest aircraft

Heathrow plans to become the first large European airport to be free of the oldest and noisiest classification of aircraft – known internationally as ‘Chapter 3’. To encourage this, airlines at Heathrow are required to pay ten times more to fly ‘Chapter 3’ aircraft into the airport than they pay for the quietest, best in class planes.

The quietest three airlines in the latest rankings include two of the biggest operators at Heathrow – British Airways’ short haul operation and Aer Lingus.

Heathrow Airport, airfield windsock, aircraft on stand at Terminal 5B (satellite one) in background, August 2010.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Director of Environment and Sustainability said, “The Fly Quiet League table is a simple and effective way to demonstrate Heathrow’s best performing airlines in terms of noise performance and to encourage best practice amongst them.”

“The fantastic results over the past two years are proof that airlines are willing to work with us and improve their noise performance.As the airport operator we have committed to take the industry lead to reduce the impacts of Heathrow’s operations on our neighbours.

“If Heathrow were to expand, we have the potential to make further significant improvements, so that fewer people will be impacted by noise than today.”

Expansion plans to see fewer people affected by noise than today

Heathrow’s expansion plans have been designed so that a bigger airport could affect fewer people by noise than today.

This can be achieved due to a combination of quieter aircraft technology and procedures, maintaining the principle of runway alternation, and the opportunity to alternate flight paths on departure as well as arrivals, something that isn’t possible today.

Heathrow has also proposed to offer a world-class noise insulation programme worth more than £700 million, should the airport be allowed to expand.

The full table:

Read more about the Fly Quiet League, here.

After nine years and three terms as Chairman of Heathrow, Sir Nigel Rudd will be stepping down from his role in September 2016 in line with standard Board practice.

During his tenure, Heathrow has gone through significant change with Sir Nigel doing an outstanding job of guiding and advising the Heathrow Board – including on matters such as the sale of airports and a regrouping of the company to focus solely on Heathrow, the UK’s hub airport and Europe’s largest.

Overseeing £11bn of investment in the iarport

Under Sir Nigel’s leadership, Heathrow has become a focussed, high-quality business with a stable financial position and strong operational performance. His time on the Board was capped by last year’s successful opening of Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal, marking the conclusion of an £11 billion investment programme which transformed Heathrow into the best hub airport in Europe.

Preparations are underway for the appointment of a new Chairperson who will take forward the airport’s expansion plans and help Heathrow achieve its ambition of giving passengers the best airport service in the world. To ensure a smooth transition, Sir Nigel will remain in post until this work is completed in the second half of 2016.

“I’m really proud to have played a role in re-establishing Heathrow as a national asset for the UK. I’ve seen first-hand just how much of an economic engine Heathrow is for all parts of our great trading nation. That’s why it’s so important that Government lives up to its “open for business” mandate and expands Heathrow,” Sir Nigel Rudd said.

“We can keep Britain at the heart of the global economy and I will continue to actively make the case for a bigger and better Heathrow.”

“It has been an honour and great pleasure to work with Sir Nigel and I will miss his sound advice, unerring support and good humour. We are starting the process of finding a replacement for Sir Nigel and Heathrow thanks him for the tremendous work he has done for our company over the past decade.” Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye

What is the most population destination for passengers flying from Heathrow at Christmas? How many thousands of Toblerones will be sold? What is the most popular day for Christmas gift buying?

We’ve taken a look at all these questions and more in our new infographic “The Flight before Christmas…” which reveals some of the surprising numbers behind Christmas shopping at Heathrow!

We’d like to wish all of our passengers a very merry Christmas! Be sure to tweet us when you’re travelling through this Christmas via @HeathrowAirport and share your festive Instragram images with us via @Heathrow_Airport!Like this article? Make sure you check out our behind the scenes video on how our decorations and Christmas Trees are brought to life in the terminals, here. 

Santa and his elves aren’t the only ones who have been busy this Christmas! We’ve been busy decorating Heathrow to add some festive cheer to our passengers journey. Watch how our decorations are brought to life in terminal!

We’d like to wish all of our passengers a very merry Christmas! Be sure to tweet us when you’re travelling through this Christmas via @HeathrowAirport and share your festive Instragram images with us via @Heathrow_Airport!

Passengers arriving at Heathrow today could be forgiven for thinking they’ve been diverted to an airport north of the border thanks to its tartan takeover, which stretches from the runway to the restaurants. To mark St Andrew’s Day, the plethora of plaid has been specially commissioned by Heathrow to say thank you to Scotland, remember its true greats and celebrate all that Scotland has done for Heathrow.

All airports, as we experience them today, owe a huge debt to Scottish pioneers, namely McAdam (the inventor of the road surfacing material known best known as Tarmac), Watson-Watt (developer of radar), Graham-Bell (telephone inventor) and Logie-Baird (creator of the television).

So, on Scotland’s national day, Heathrow is taking the opportunity to thank those pioneers by symbolising items in Heathrow that are made in Scotland with a tartan tag. But it’s not just engineers, scientists and inventors, Scotland’s natural produce and food & drink maestros are being recognised too.

Glasgow artist creates Heathrow tartan

Working with Glasgow born and based textile artist and designer Jilli Blackwood, a graduate of The Glasgow School of Art, who’s most famous for creating the outfits for the Scottish team at last summer’s Commonwealth Games, the airport now has its own unique purple-hued tartan which has been used to tag Scottish exports within the airport’s walls. Inventions including ATMs, invented by John Shepherd-Barron, televisions and telephones have been covered in the bespoke plaid.

But it’s not just the airport’s fixtures and fittings that have had a Celtic makeover as even the Scottish food and drink now sports a tartan design.

Travellers visiting Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food restaurant in T5 can enjoy a set menu of smoked salmon and sourdough with a special tartan butter, followed by the traditional Scottish pudding Cranachan with a white chocolate tartan garnish, both of which have been developed by the head chef Andrew Winstanley and given a special twist with Heathrow’s new tartan.

For those looking for a little tipple before take-off, the Made in Scotland Martini served in a specially created tartan glass is bursting with Scottish ingredients including Hendrick’s gin, Drambuie and Tayside raspberries.

Talking about creating the tartan, Jilli Blackwood said: “It’s been really exciting working on this project with Heathrow. Being asked to work with the airport’s iconic colours was really quite challenging and forced me to think outside of the box.

“The final design is instantly recognisable to all as a tartan, yet one based on such bold and contemporary colours. It’s a brilliant symbol of Scotland and Heathrow’s relationship and has been used in some really interesting ways.”

The John McAdam Runway

In addition to the tartan takeover, Heathrow’s runway, which has seen approximately 770,0000 planes fly to Scotland carrying over 42m passengers has been renamed the John McAdam Runway in homage to the Scottish inventor of tarmac.

An estimated 378,000m2 of tarmac has been used across the two runways – that’s enough to fit ten and a half Edinburgh Castles. As well as being made from a Scottish invention, it is expected that a third runway at Heathrow would create up to 16,100 new skilled jobs in Scotland and deliver up to £14 billion in economic growth.

An estimated 378,000m2 of tarmac has been used across the two runways – that’s enough to fit ten and a half Edinburgh Castles. As well as being made from a Scottish invention, it is expected that a third runway at Heathrow would create up to 16,100 new skilled jobs in Scotland and deliver up to £14 billion in economic growth.

As part of the week-long celebrations, Passenger Ambassadors at Heathrow will be sporting limited edition tartan sashes and will be happy to explain to interested travellers about the Scottish takeover.

Commenting on the Made in Scotland event, Emma Gilthorpe, Strategy Director at Heathrow said: “Scotland has always played an important role in innovation and export and it’s fair to say that we wouldn’t be where we are today without the originality of some great Scots.

From John Loudon McAdam, to Preston Watson and Alexander Graham Bell, Scotland is the birthplace of many revolutionary inventions and it’s these revolutionary inventions, which make Heathrow the UK’s Hub airport that it is today.

From Tarmac to telephones, some could argue that, in some way, Heathrow was actually made in Scotland so we simply wanted to pay homage to the Scots by hosting a week-long celebration. Thank you Scotland.”

Heathrow Airport has today released a new series of videos highlighting the environmental projects that take place behind the scenes of Britain’s busiest airport.

One of the videos captures the moment when Adam Cheeseman, Heathrow’s Biodiversity Manager, discovers a brand new arrival at our airport. Meet Conistra Vaccinii – a chestnut moth that has just made the natural habitats around Heathrow home.

Over 170 hectares of biodiversity areas managed by Heathrow…

You may find it surprising to hear that Heathrow manages more than 170 hectares of freshwater lakes, reedbeds and woodland. These sites are home to 2,375 different species of flora and fauna – including the Conistra Vaccinii (and the four other new species Adam found on the same day!).

We believe protecting and fostering these species is an important part of being a responsible business. With expansion, we hope to enhance and add to these green spaces, ultimately creating a 15-mile green corridor.

Heathrow was the first airport in the UK to be awarded a biodiversity benchmark by the Wildlife Trust, and we have just celebrated our 8th year with this recognition.


Heathrow’s leading investments in energy efficiency have earned it the “Energy Management” title at this year’s Edie’s Sustainability Leaders Awards.

Over £20 million has been invested by the airport to increase the energy efficiency of our infrastructure.

This included a huge two-year programme to replace over 70,000 lights across the airport with LED lamps, saving 44GW hours of electricity, and £6.4 million in electricity and maintenance over the life of the light bulbs.

The Energy Management Award recognised the success of the Heathrow Energy Centre – a 10MW biomass Combined Heat and Power Plant providing zero carbon electricity, heat and cooling for the new Terminal 2, the world’s first BREEAM certified airport terminal.

The biomass boiler is fuelled by woodchip coming from forestry that is 75% sourced from within a 50 mile radius of the airport.

The second sustainability award given to Heathrow this week…

Earlier this week, Heathrow was awarded a Bronze award in the Mayor of London’s Business Energy Challenge (BEC) in recognition of the 16.5% reduction in carbon intensity Heathrow has achieved across a portfolio of Heathrow’s properties” The Awards were held at City Hall on 16th November, hosted by the Mayor.

This Award recognises how team’s across Heathrow from Engineering, Baggage, Development, IT, Strategy and Procurement and lots more are working together to deliver energy savings at Heathrow. This is all part of Responsible Heathrow, our plan to become one of the most responsible airports in the world.

5 years of the Heathrow Sustainability Partnership…

The award comes as the airport celebrates the five year anniversary of the Heathrow Sustainability Partnership (HSP). Led by a CEO board from the 13 biggest companies at the airport, HSP works collaboratively to achieve long term sustainability improvements on a scale that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

Last year, it launched the Energy Code of Practice to monitor and target improvements in energy consumption. HSP is now in the process of developing a sustainability guide for restaurants at the airport in partnership with the Sustainable Restaurant Association, which will support them to reduce energy even further.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow Director of Sustainability and Environment said the the work the airport is doing is a “win-win” for the environment and the business.“

Finding ways to use energy responsibly and efficiently is how we do business as Britain’s busiest airport and we are honoured that our efforts have been recognised by Edie’s Sustainability Leaders Awards,” Matt Gorman said.

“Our investments in energy management have created a win-win situation – we have not only delivered results for the environment, but also cost savings for our partners who operate at the airport.”

“We know we have much more to do, but we are committed and will capitalize on the potential that Heathrow’s expansion could bring to ensure we have industry-leading, energy-efficient infrastructure in our airport.”

In addition to this award, Heathrow Airport has also recently won other awards in recognition of efforts to become more sustainable. They include: a “GreenFleet” award in recognition of efforts to build a more sustainable airport fleet; the ACI’s Eco-Innovation Award for overall efforts at finding new, sustainable ways to operate; and for the eighth time a Biodiversity Benchmark Award for habitat management.

What are the Edie’s Sustainability Leaders Awards?

Edie’s Sustainability Leaders Awards are organised by specialist sustainability publishing house Faversham House, and began life as’s Awards for Environmental Excellence in 2007. Since then the event has grown and expanded to include all key aspects of business sustainability. In line with that growth, the awards changed name in 2012 and the Sustainability Leaders Awards were born.

The edie Sustainability Leaders Awards are included in the highly regarded RSA accreditation scheme – one of only a handful of environmental schemes to be chosen for this honour. This means that award winners have the opportunity to gain further accolades on the international stage, as they are automatically given access to the European Business Awards for the Environment.

For more information, please visit:

The GreenFleet Awards are a celebration of environmental fleet management and green motoring, awarding dedicated companies and individuals who are passionate about promoting a cleaner environment. With 20 categories ranging from “industry innovation” to “leasing company of the year”, they recognise outstanding achievement within each field. For more information please see:


To celebrate Export Week, Heathrow has created a unique Export Café in the shape of a shipping container to showcase the best of British exports. The café in Terminal 5 departures showcases 25 of the UK’s best exports from across the country, from Cornish clotted cream, to Scottish shortbread.

The café offers passengers travelling across the world the chance to learn more about the varied exports that travel via Heathrow with them every day under their seat. A menu has been developed using the best of British exports from across the UK to all five continents.

Heathrow also welcomed UK Trade and Investment’s Export Truck, offering free advice on expanding overseas to the hundreds of SMEs attending the annual Heathrow Business Summit.

Biggest port by valueHeathrow carries more freight exports and imports by value than every other UK airport combined – with £101bn worth of goods passing through the airport in 2014 – making it the UK’s biggest port by value.

New data has revealed over £7 billion worth of British exports travelled to China via Heathrow between August 2014 and July 2015, representing a 117% increase on the previous 12 months and over 15% of total UK export goods via Heathrow by value.

Top 5 UK Export Destinations (by value via Heathrow):

  • USA – £14 billion
  • China – £7.6 billion
  • Hong Kong – £4.5 billion
  • United Arab Emirates – £4 billion
  • India – £1.9 billion

Top 5 UK Export Commodities (by value via Heathrow):

  • Precious metals – £26 billion
  • Aircraft turbojets – £3.3 billion
  • Jewellery – £3 billion
  • Medicaments – £2.8 billion
  • Paintings and Drawings – £2.4 billion

“At Heathrow we are delighted to celebrate Export Week in partnership with UK Trade and Investment and raise awareness of the support network that is in place to help businesses across Britain to reach dining tables and markets across the world.“The true heroes of this campaign are the businesses who have gone beyond UK borders and opened new markets to the benefit of their local communities and the UK’s economy.” – Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s Strategy Director

Over the next 40 years world economic growth will be driven from Asia, North America and South America. Without good connections, we are going to lose out in the global race to win this business.

Air freight is critical in time sensitive industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotech and food.Carrying air freight helps make long-haul flights viable, with 95 per cent carried in the hold of passenger aircraft. We want to overhaul our cargo facilities and double their capacity as part of our expansion plans.

Heathrow: Expanding the UK’s busiest cargo port by value

Heathrow is ready to boost its freight facilities with expansion and in doing so, boost UK exports.

Heathrow has celebrated another record breaking month in October, with 6.56 million passengers travelling through – an increase of 3.9% on 2014! The strong results come on the back of growing calls for Heathrow expansion.

Results highlights:

  • 6.56 million passengers, +3.9% on last year and a record October;

  • 2.3% increase in load factors;

  • Passenger increases to emerging destinations: +28% to Mexico, +18% to China, and +7% to the Middle East.

  • +3.4% Cargo volumes over the past 12 months to emerging markets.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said the results show not only that the airport continues to grow in strength, but expansion is needed urgently to connect the UK to more emerging markets.

Another record month for passenger growth, particularly to emerging economies, shows the urgent need for expansion at Heathrow. We can create the world’s best connected and most sustainable hub airport, ensuring Britain remains at the heart of the global economy for further generations. Let’s build it.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye

Momentum grows for Heathrow expansion

Strong momentum for expansion has continued to build among business leaders and key politicians in the last month, including:

  • CBI President Paul Drechsler urging “strong political leadership and decisive action” from Government in his address to the business group’s annual conference;

  • 26 Northern Labour MPs declaring their support for Heathrow expansion and demonstrating that expansion remains a nationwide issue.

This growing support comes on the back of the already large support across the UK for Heathrow expansion.

Heathrow’s £180m cargo overhaul announced

Following the record breaking October, Heathrow has also announced a new £180m cargo blueprint to overhaul freight facilities at the airport.

The airport has already began engagement with the freight industry around the overhaul which will double Heathrow’s cargo capacity and provide a boost to the UK’s global export competitiveness by enabling faster, more efficient cargo movements.

Find out more about the blueprint, here.

The Heathrow Academy has saved the government’s benefits bill about £8 million through its work filling the skills gaps and giving local people in jobs over the eleven years of its operation said Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye last night.


  • 11th annual ceremony celebrated 82 apprentices graduating this year

  • Over 5,000 local residents placed into further training and 3,188 found work so far due to Heathrow Academy

  • Heathrow Airport has directly contributed more than £4 million to skills and training at the Academy

Local MPs and councillors joined CEO John Holland-Kaye to celebrate Heathrow Academy’s latest cohort of 82 apprentices and the success of the Academy over the past eleven years.

Heathrow Academy’s dedicated team of recruiters, trainers, assessors and mentors provide local people with the training and support to get into work at the airport.

11 years on…

In the 11 years since the Academy was established, over 5,000 local residents – from school leaving age upwards – have been placed into further training opportunities and more than 3,188 have been placed directly into work at the airport.

In total, over 76,500 people are employed at Heathrow, equal to one in five jobs in the local area. Over half of the people who work at Heathrow live in the five local boroughs – Slough, Spelthorne, Hounslow, Hillingdon, Ealing – closest to the airport.

10,000 apprenticeships with expansion…

Heathrow Airport has invested over £4 million in the growth of the Academy, and has ambitious plans for its future. Should Heathrow expansion go ahead, the airport has promised to offer 10,000 apprenticeships over the course of the expansion project.

Alex, Grant and Phil are all Heathrow engineers who came through our apprenticeship programme.

Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye said his aim is that a future Chief Executive of Heathrow will come from one of our local communities.

The Academy gives an opportunity for talented local people to fulfil their potential, through one of the many amazing careers open to them at Heathrow. My aim is that a future Chief Executive of Heathrow will come from one of our local communities – and their journey may well start at the Academy. -Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye

Case study: Hounslow’s Roslyn Alabaster

Roslyn, who is based in the London Borough of Hounslow, joined Carluccio’s in 2013. Shortly after, her Manager suggested an apprenticeship to help her develop in the role.

Roslyn explains, “I was a single mum when my two daughters were growing up, so I focused on doing the best for them and neglected myself at times. To be honest, I’d given up on achieving my own dreams and aspirations, but after joining Carluccio’s, I knew the time was right to do something positive for me, and make my daughters proud.”

Carluccio’s Regional Operations Director, Russel is an advocate of the Heathrow Academy and understands the value apprenticeships can offer his employees. Roslyn studied an Apprenticeship in Team Leadership and she believes the process changed her for the better. “The whole experience was like rediscovering the old Roslyn.

It’s hard to explain but it has made me feel so much braver and happier” she says. Shortly after completing the qualification, Roslyn was promoted to Team Leader and she’s working towards the next step in her management career with the continuing support of the Heathrow Academy apprenticeship team.

“I can’t thank the Heathrow Academy enough for the opportunity. They’ve supported me when I’ve not felt confident and given me the self-belief I needed to get my apprenticeship! I really enjoy the interaction I have with my customers – it’s a unique place to work at Heathrow and you really do meet some incredible people.” – Rosyln

Roslyn says: “I can’t thank the Heathrow Academy enough for the opportunity. They’ve supported me when I’ve not felt confident and given me the self-belief I needed to get my apprenticeship! I really enjoy the interaction I have with my customers – it’s a unique place to work at Heathrow and you really do meet some incredible people. I’m excited by what the future holds!”Other news:


By Heathrow

Published 6th November 2015