Heathrow today launched its ‘Fly Quiet programme’ league table, becoming the first UK airport to list airlines according to their noise performance.
Every three months a Fly Quiet table will take the top 50 Heathrow airlines (by number of flights per quarter) and rank them against each other according to six noise related criteria.
“In the first ever Fly Quiet league table covering July to September2013, 94 per cent of the airlines have met the minimum benchmark requirements for at least five of the six metrics. British Airways short haul took top position as the quietest airline operating out of Heathrow. Virgin Atlantic’s Little Red took second place.”
Airlines already use their quietest aircraft around 15 per cent more on Heathrow routes as a result of the existing tough rules and regulations, and this programme is to ensure the trend continues.
How does it work?
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.
What are the criterion?
The six criterion are:
- 1. Noise quota count/seat/movement;
- 2. Noise Certification;
- 3. Arrival Operations: Continuous Descent Approach(CDA violations);
- 4. Departure Operations: Track deviations on departure(TK violations);
- 6. Night time Operations 2: unscheduled arrivals prior to 0600.
Criteria 5 and 6 are weighted lower compared to the remaining four as they affect only a limited number of airlines, but are still important issues for community stakeholders. All six criteria are outlined in the Fly Quiet Programme overview.
What else is being done to reduce noise impact?
The league table comes as an addition to a number of initiatives already in place to help reduce noise impacts upon local communities including:
Airlines are charged less at Heathrow for using quieter aircraft.This has helped double the number of movements by new, quieter A380 and Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft both in terms ofpercentage and number of airlines Heathrow provides noise insulation for homes (40,000 in total) and schools around the airport and offers financial assistance for the relocation to quieter areas;
Runway alternation while aircraft are on westerly operations to provide relief to local residents. This means one runway is used by landing aircraft between certain timeframes and halfway through the day arrivals then switch to the other runway until the last departure;
The Continuous Descent Approach enforced at Heathrow, whereby aircraft make a continuous steady angle approach rather than the traditional steeped approach, also helps reduce engine noise.
Despite double the number of aircraft since 1974, the noise level has actually reduced for residents living under Heathrow’s flight paths.
‘A quieter Heathrow’
The launch of the Fly Quiet programme follows the publication of ‘A quieter Heathrow’, a report which sets out the steps Heathrow takes to reduce aircraft noise. It brings together the range of measures designed to meet the Government’s aspiration ‘to strike a fair balance between the negative impacts of noise and the positive economic impacts of flights’.
It sets out actions across five key areas that Heathrow can take now to reduce aircraft noise, while safeguarding the connectivity and growth that Heathrow currently provides: encouraging quieter planes; implementing quieter operating procedures; noise mitigation schemes and influencing land-use planning; applying operating restrictions and working with local communities. To read the full report, visit www.heathrow.com/noise/ .