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Quieter procedures

Efforts to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on local communities do not depend simply on improvements in technology. How and where aircraft are flown can also make a significant difference.

There are three broad categories of operating procedures that can reduce noise:

  • Making individual planes quieter, for example by changing the thrust settings
  • Planes flying higher and therefore quieter, using steeper approaches for example
  • Routing planes differently, such as runway alternation.
Steeper approaches graphic


We are committed to working with the CAA, NATS and airlines to explore and employ smarter operating procedures to reduce the noise impact of aircraft on residents.

In particular we will:

  • take full advantage of opportunities to manage airspace differently, working with local communities to identify changes that could benefit them. We will continue to trial new airspace management procedures to test the concept of providing predictable periods of respite from early morning arrivals and for some of our departure routes. We will review the results with a view to introducing the changes permanently if communities value them and they are operationally feasible
  • take steps to better understand the noise and operational impacts of ending the practice of ‘westerly preference’ through a study we have commissioned from NATS; and
  • propose a significant increase in fines for aircraft that exceed the airport’s departure noise limits at night and invest the funds in local community projects.

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