New generation Boeing Dreamliners resulting in improved noise performance at airport, says Heathrow
(photo: Heathrow Airport)
Thu 30 June 2016 – The introduction of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner is credited with an overall improvement in noise performance at London’s Heathrow Airport, according to the latest Fly Quiet league table published by the airport. Singled out for praise is Virgin Atlantic, which is in the process of replacing its old 747-400s with new Dreamliners, although other airlines such as Air Canada, Air India, British Airways and Qatar Airways have also significantly increased the use of the new-generation aircraft on Heathrow routes. The airport says it is on track to become the first large European airport to be completely free of the oldest and noisiest Chapter 3 classification aircraft, which attract high landing fees. On average, airlines pay 10 times more to fly Chapter 3 planes to Heathrow compared to the quietest aircraft such as the Dreamliner.
Virgin Atlantic rose five places in the latest league table that covers the period January to March this year and now has 13 787-9 aircraft in service at the airport.
“We’re delighted to see our huge investment in quieter and more fuel efficient aircraft paying off for the local communities around Heathrow, as well as for our customers,” commented the carrier’s SVP External Affairs, Meigan Terry. “We expect to have 17 of these aircraft operating by 2018, creating one of the youngest and quietest long-haul fleets in the world.”
The number of Dreamliners now operating at Heathrow contributed to an overall 6% improvement in the latest league table score tracking the use of quieter aircraft, reports the airport. The operator says there has also been some track-keeping improvement in airlines adhering to the noise preferential routes around the airport, as set by government. Air France and Aegean moved up seven places because of their track keeping, while SN Brussels improved its track keeping score from amber to green under the Fly Quiet’s traffic light rating system.
The quarterly Fly Quiet table – the latest is the eleventh to be published – rates the top 50 airlines operating at Heathrow according to six noise related criteria. The airlines receive a red/amber/green rating for each criterion, as well as an overall score that allows them to understand how they are performing in relation to other airlines. The aim is to drive noise efficiency and performance of aircraft using Heathrow and encourage procedures such as Continuous Descent Approaches on arrival and track keeping on departure. Night-time operations are also monitored under the programme.
“It’s encouraging to see the positive results of our engagement with airlines in these latest Fly Quiet results. Replacing aircraft with newer, quieter types is one of the best ways to reduce noise and that is why the progress shown in the latest league standings is so important,” said Heathrow Director of Sustainability and Environment Matt Gorman.
“The results are part of a wider trend seen at Heathrow, as airlines continue to use their newest planes not only because of our fees and their responsibilities to our local neighbours, but also because our routes are so sought after and they want to offer passengers the best and quietest aircraft experience available.”