Noise

As an industry we are actually aware of the impact of noise on those people who live under flight paths.

That is why airlines, airports and communities are working to manage the effects of noise and minimise the impacts wherever possible.

We have introduced a number of procedures to reduce noise and aviation emissions for people living near airports and close to flight paths.

Continuous Descent Approaches

A technique reducing CO2 emissions, noise and fuel burn, a CDA enables the aircraft to fly a smooth continuous descent, instead of a series of steps. This results in quieter, more fuel-efficient landings, but requires extra effort from pilots and air traffic controllers.

We have been able to support 15 airports across the UK and 22 airlines to make CDAs more widespread and this led to an additional 31,639 quieter flights in 2015, which also saved 1,740 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The continuous descent operation performance of airports and airlines is monitored monthly and measures put in place to support flight crews and operations managers where necessary.

The Flight Efficiency Partnership – between NATS, airlines and airports – has delivered incremental adjustments to improve the efficiency of certain operational procedures. Together with tactical improvements, these helped save 34,195 tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2015. The combined annual savings since 2008 total 1.1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum, equating to £111m in enabled airline fuel savings.

The industry continues to investigate the ways in which latest navigation technology can be used to mitigate noise and other environmental impacts. However, airspace redesign inevitably involves change – you can’t always mitigate noise in one area without impacting another.

There is regular consultation with both airspace users and communities who might be affected by proposed changes.

Other work includes:

Collaboration between airports, airlines and community groups to deploy ground breaking action to tackle noise disturbance to communities near London’s main airports through noise respite trials.

Investigation of precision navigation that allows aircraft to fly routes with increased accuracy, potentially reducing the number of people exposed to aircraft noise by directing aircraft over less noise sensitive areas where possible.