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Fly Quiet and Clean

The Fly Quiet and Clean programme is one of the steps Heathrow is taking to reduce aircraft noise, encouraging airlines to use quieter aircraft and to fly them in the quietest possible way. It includes the UK's first ever league table which ranks airlines according to their noise performance. The league table can be found on the Fly Quiet and Clean website here:

www.heathrowflyquietandclean.com

Heathrow has some of the world’s toughest rules and regulations on noise, which have played a major role in driving developments in quieter aircraft technology. These technological improvements have meant that, despite the doubling of aircraft numbers since the 1970s, we’ve seen a tenfold decrease in the numbers of people falling within Heathrow’s noise footprint.

Limits and restrictions, particularly on flights at night, promote the use of ‘best in class’ aircraft; the financial incentives we provide also encourage airlines to use the quietest aircraft through variable landing charges. Together these have contributed to more of the quietest planes being used at Heathrow. On average the aircraft used by airlines are 15 per cent quieter than the total global fleets of those airlines.

However, managing the impact of aircraft noise for local communities is not just about improving technology. How and where aircraft are flown are also important factors. Airlines, airports and air traffic controllers employ a number of procedures to limit noise in this way and Heathrow has been at the forefront of promoting the use of these.

Our league table publicly ranks Heathrow’s 50 busiest airlines on their work to reduce emissions and noise in their operations.

Fly Quiet and Clean league table

Every three months, Heathrow publishes this league table showing a red/amber/green rating for seven noise and emissions criteria.

It presents an expanded version of Heathrow’s successful Fly Quiet programme, which has tracked airlines’ noise performance since 2013 and incentivised airlines to use their quieter aircraft types and operating procedures at the airport. It adds two emissions-based criteria, scoring the type of engines used by aircraft (the ‘CAEP’ score) and the efficiencies of aircraft when it comes to NOx emissions per seat (the ‘NOx/seat’ score).

As part of the airport’s efforts to reduce the number of aircraft operating at night, and to provide more predictable periods of noise respite for local residents, the new table also includes a new metric tracking unscheduled airline operations between 11:30 at night and 4:30 in the morning.

The Fly Quiet and Clean Table is part of Heathrow 2.0, the airport’s new sustainability strategy, which aims to make Heathrow the world leader in delivering the cleanest aircraft and operations possible, targeting emissions in several ways:

  • On arrivals: by linking our landing fees to an aircraft’s NOx emissions. In 2017 we increased this fee by nearly 100%.
  • On the airfield: by encouraging airlines to use reduced-engine taxiing.
  • At gates: through £20-million-pound investment in technology like pre-conditioned air so aircraft can turn their engines off. This year, we are aiming to increase the use of this technology by 20% compared to 2016.

By publishing the table each quarter, Heathrow aims to recognise good performance, provide airlines with regular feedback, and identify specific areas to be targeted for improvement. Heathrow will engage with airlines showing red results in the latest league table to improve their rating.

More information on the Fly Quiet and Clean programme, along with the current table and previous rankings can be found here.