Dreamliners aid Heathrow’s noise reduction strategy

Virgin Atlantic’s replacement of its old 747-400s with top of the range Dreamliners has improved the airline’s noise record at London Heathrow over January to March of this year, the latest Fly Quiet League table shows.  

Virgin Atlantic's Dreamliner
Virgin Atlantic’s Dreamliner

Air Canada, Air India, British Airways and Qatar have also significantly increased their use of 787 Dreamliners on their Heathrow routes this past year. This has contributed to an overall 6% improvement in the total league table score tracking the use of quieter aircraft at Heathrow, the “chapter number” scores.

Early phase out of the noisiest planes is a key part of Heathrow’s Noise Blueprint. Heathrow is on track to become the first large European airport to be completely free of “Chapter 3” aircraft the oldest and noisiest classification, due in part to the heavy fees airlines pay to land these planes at Heathrow. On average, airlines pay ten times more to fly Chapter 3 planes to Heathrow than they pay for the quietest aircraft, like Dreamliners.

The last three months have also shown some improvement in airlines adhering to the noise preferential routes in the skies around Heathrow as set by Government –  or what is known as “track keeping”.  Air France and Aegean moved up seven places because of their track keeping while SN Brussels’s track keeping has improved its score from “amber” ratings to “green.”

Matt Gorman, Heathrow director of Sustainability and Environment said: “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.

“The results today 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.”

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