Landing charges incentivising airlines to use the cleanest and quietest new aircraft, says Heathrow
Ethiopian is operating the A350 to Heathrow
Mon 21 Nov 2016 – The increasing use of the cleaner and quieter Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350 aircraft is improving noise performance at Heathrow, says the airport, which has just published its Fly Quiet league table for the third quarter of 2016. Qatar Airways last week became the third carrier to fly the A350 on routes to Heathrow, joining Finnair and Ethiopian Airlines, making a total of six daily flights for the latest Airbus aircraft. Launched last year, the noise footprint of the A350 is claimed to be around 50% smaller than its predecessor models and 21 of airlines serving Heathrow have the aircraft on order. With the number of Boeing 787 aircraft rising by 19%, Heathrow says airlines are increasing the use of their quietest aircraft in response to the airport’s landing charge incentive policy. British Airways’ short-haul fleet continues to top the noise league table.
Without the aid of new aircraft to bolster its position, British Airways’ position as the leading performer is due to noise-reducing enhancements to its fleet of A320 aircraft and operating procedures that take noise over the ground into consideration, says Heathrow.
The airline is currently operating 22 Boing 787s out of Heathrow and has 18 A350-1000 aircraft on order. However, the continuing use of old Boeing 747-400s means its noise ranking of the long-haul fleet is no better than fifteenth. Although charges for landing a 747-400 at Heathrow are well over three times that for a 787, British Airways is expected to keep its 747s until around 2020.
Ranked third behind British Airways short-haul operations and Aer Lingus, Etihad Airways is the top long-haul performer, ahead of Emirates in fourth place, with Qantas Airways moving into the top five. Another airline singled out for praise is Singapore Airlines, which climbed 21 places to nineteenth as a result of a switch to newer aircraft and improved operating performance.
The Fly Quiet league table is published each quarter and compares the top 50 airlines according to the number of flights serving Heathrow across six noise metrics. The metrics cover aircraft noise efficiency, noise certification, arrival operations such as Continuous Descent Approaches, departure track-keeping operations and adherence to night time operational hours.
“The Fly Quiet programme helps airlines improve their noise performance and provides incentives for them to fly their newest, quietest aircraft to Heathrow, helping the airport be a better neighbour,” said Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye.