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Operating restrictions

Improvements in technology, quieter operating procedures, noise mitigation and land-use planning all offer the prospect of important progress on noise. In addition, and where required, we will consider operating restrictions to address the problem of noise.

Operating restrictions are most frequently used when the risk of disturbance is highest – during the night, the late evening and the early morning. At Heathrow we currently have restrictions on night flights. While these flights – many of which are bringing business customers to the UK from the Far East – are valuable for the airport and the wider economy, we recognize that noise generated by early morning flights can be very disruptive for local communities.

We are committed to:

  • Tackling the local disturbance that can be caused by night flights, taking steps to reduce the number of aircraft that depart Heathrow late after 11pm at night, and to incentivise the quietest aircraft to operate early morning arrivals before 6am; and
  • Taking steps to phase out the noisiest aircraft operating at Heathrow. We are working on a voluntary agreement with the airlines and hope the use of what are known as ‘marginally compliant aircraft’ will stop in 2015.

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