Heathrow’s latest Fly Quiet league results, ranking airlines’ noise performance from October to December 2015, were published today. The results show a clear trend towards quieter, newer planes at Heathrow, with airlines like Virgin Atlantic making substantive changes in their fleet over the last three months alone.
The latest data includes the largest single jump in scores tracking the use of quieter planes, since the start of the Fly Quiet programme two years ago. On average, scores tracking aircrafts’ noise certifications improved by 8%, compared to both last quarter (June – September 2015) and to the same point last year (October to December 2014). Noise certifications are used to determine an aircraft’s noise performance against the International Civil Aviation Organisations’ noise targets and to recognise “best in class” quiet technology.
Due in large part to its increased use of the ultra-quiet Boeing Dreamliners, and its transition away from the use of older, noisier 747’s, Virgin Atlantic has moved up nine places in the league table.
Joining Virgin as a Fly Quiet “winner” this quarter were:
Icelandair, which moved up 15 places (29 to 14), following an impressive improvement in its Continuous Descent performance. This moves the airline from the middle of the table to the top 20% quiet performers on the CDA metric.
Finnair, which has moved up 8 places, based on a combination of improvements in quiet approaches to the airport, as well as use of quieter planes operating at Heathrow.
Etihad, which has battled through very tough competition at the top of the league table to move up 5 places, due to its improved track keeping – that is, the ability of their aircraft to remain within “noise preferential routes” predetermined by the Government in the sky.
Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Director of Sustainability and Environment said: “Every day, behind the scenes, our team is working directly with airlines to find new ways to make Heathrow quieter, sooner so we can be a better neighbor. Our approach is yielding results. In fact, airlines operate aircraft at Heathrow that are now 15% quieter than their global fleet. This, along with our drive towards quieter operating procedures, has meant Heathrow is now quieter than it’s ever been at any time since the 1970s.”
Besides close technical cooperation with airline partners, Heathrow Airport encourages airlines to operate their quietest aircraft by charging ten times more to fly older “Chapter 3” aircraft into the airport than the quietest, best in class planes.