Airlines’ Improved Annual Performance Shows Fly Quiet League Success
As the Fly Quiet League begins its second year run, the sixth league table, covering October to December 2014, provides the first set of data that can be compared to the same three month period from a year before and which takes into account airlines’ efforts in improving their League performance. From now on, Fly Quiet data will reveal longer term trends, and highlight yearly best performance.
This quarter, the League shows Chapter number scores violations have been reduced from four at the start of the League table to one this quarter. This indicates airlines are moving towards operating best-in-class, modern, quieter aircraft more frequently at Heathrow.
Heathrow-based airlines have also successfully reduced their ’red’ violations in their use of Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) by two over the same period last year, with LOT and Iberia in particular turning their red scores to amber.
Continuous descent approach requires less engine thrust and keeps the aircraft higher for longer, helping to reduce noise in arriving aircraft. Heathrow is a CDA pioneer: over 85% of daytime and over 90% of night-time arrivals achieve a CDA.
Cathay Pacific has demonstrated the most consistent improvements in performance over the past year due to its improved adherence to CDA, as well as continued engagement between the airline’s and Heathrow’s technical teams. The Hong-Kong based airline debuted in the League at 24th place before climbing quickly to 15th and later 11th place, a ranking it maintains to this day.
US Airways jumped up 9 places from the previous quarter, due to its use of quieter, more modern aircraft at Heathrow during what was a comparatively busier period of activity for the airline.
Europe’s first Fly Quiet League
Heathrow is the first European airport to introduce a Fly Quiet League and Heathrow Sustainability Director Matt Gorman said the first year results are encouraging.
“As Europe’s first Fly Quiet League, our transparent ranking airlines according to their noise performance has driven improvements. Through hard work and open communications between us and airline partners, we have assured quieter skies for local residents over the past year,” Matt Gorman said.
“Undoubtedly, more work remains to be done, but we are encouraged by the improvements we have seen this year, and what is more, the innovation of airlines in finding ways to reduce noise and be better neighbours to residents.”
Heathrow will continue to engage with its airline partners in fulfilling the goals of the Blueprint for Noise Reduction, a ten point plan to cut noise. The Blueprint includes commitments to reduce the number of Chapter 3, the oldest and noisiest aircraft, and ensure more noise respite for local communities through measures to reduce late departures from the airport at night.
As a result of the rules and incentives already in place, aircraft flying in an out of Heathrow are on average 15% quieter than the other planes flying in the fleets of the same airlines at other world airports. Since the early 1970s, both the area and the number of people within Heathrow’s noise footprint have fallen around tenfold, despite the number of flights doubling.
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