The reduction of aircraft noise is the main direction of environmental and social activities of airport management around the world. In some cases, the problem of noise hinders airport capacity. In addition, aircraft noise has a negative impact not only on the population living around the airport but, above all, on the airport staff operating the airlines. Thus, noise is both a biological and industrial adverse factor.
The problem of aircraft noise worsens due to construction of airports in residential areas and expansion of the existing and introduction of new routes of aircraft in the terminal area. The social and economic burden of the problem also grows because an increasing number of people are working under the aircraft noise conditions. Apart from that, the issue has many serious consequences such as increased morbidity of air specialists, reduced productivity, increased risk of mistakes, and the need to pay compensation for work in hazardous conditions.
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Environmentalists and residents of urban areas located around airports all over the world have been demanding reduction of harmful impact of aviation equipment for many years. As a result, the legislation governing civil aviation was introduced, setting standards in aircraft noise and emissions. This paper discusses some of the strategies aimed at noise control around airports.
The best way to control noise around airports is very radical and involves various operational restrictions, such as a ban on constructing new runway strips and restrictions on the night-time use of airports.
Three airports around London are most frequently used compared with other European airports. Their number of flights and passengers is much larger than in other airports in Europe, which results in extreme noise and jostling in the local sky. For expanding the capacity of Heathrow Airport, it was decided to build the third runway, but activists and residents of the neighboring districts protested against the decision. Although the plan to build the third runway was practically approved, it faced strong opposition of the activists fighting for noise reduction. As a result, the residents around the Heathrow area, who suffered from terrible noise of flying aircraft that takes off and lands every 30 seconds over their roofs, won the lasting lawsuit over the construction of the third runway. Consequently, the third runway will not build at Heathrow.
Besides, Quota Count System, which operates in London, predicts and limits the amount of noise pollution at airports in Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted by imposing operating restrictions for night flights. Initially, they limited the number of flights but eventually developed into a comprehensive classification system that assigns values to various takeoffs and landings based on the noise certification of the aircraft. They determine the aircraft noise values and group them in a frequency band with three-decibel steps. For each airplane a number of points the band or quotas is assigned. The aircraft in the middle of the noise level range gets 1QC; a noisy airplane gets 2QC or even 4QC, and a quiet one gets 0.5QC or 0.25QC. Then the operating restrictions for each of the three London airports allocate a certain number of quotas per year for night flights, and airlines have to apply for slots proportional quota. Thus, they have a choice either to use a smaller number of slots for a noisy aircraft or more slots for less noisy aircraft.
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This system not only reduces noise pollution at night but also stimulates air operators to use the newest and the quietest types of aircraft. Noisy aircraft (4QC4) is prohibited for taking off or landing between 23:30 and 6:00 (Airlines International IATA, 2014).
For a long time Berlin residents protested against the ultramodern airport Sch?nefeld for safety concerns. Thus, in order not to break silence in the southwest of Berlin, it was necessary to construct new runways. In addition, Aircraft Noise Commission decided that the planes will not fly over the “dormitory” area of Berlin. However, it did not solve the airport noise issue. Thus, 7000 aircraft landed and took off at the airports Tegel and Tempelhof monthly, giving no rest for locals, who suffered from chronic insomnia, neurosis, and other diseases. Therefore, to reduce the amount of aircraft noise, Berlin court decided to close the international airport “Tempelhof” in 2008.
Land-Use Planning and Management
Land-use planning and management is another strategy for reducing noise that is allocated by ICAO. It includes three categories: Planning, Mitigation, and Financial Instruments. Planning Instruments include integrated planning, noise zoning, drawing up noise maps, resettlement, and land acquisition. Financial Instruments include compensation, taxes, and penalties. According to Mitigation Instruments, regulation and planning of buildings and the surrounding areas of land, sound insulation, etc. should be considered (Virgin Atlantic, 2013).
In the first stage of construction of Narita Airport in Japan, local residents were proposed a land compensation for resettlement. However, to avoid problems that accompanied the first stage of construction of the airport, the Transport Minister promised not to confiscate people’s land. Locals who stayed in the surrounding areas received compensation for the noise pollution increase, and their homes were improved and soundproofed.
Cointrin International Airport on the border of France and Switzerland invests a lot of money in the struggle with noise. Noise pollution is the key issue for the Geneva airport management. In addition to average measures to reduce noise, such as the order to use as quiet aircraft as possible, the airport management introduced an aircraft tax for taking off after 10 p.m. (Yurkina, 2011).
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The Government of Canada has also established procedures to limit the amount of noise around airports. Thus, the management of Canadian airports must comply with the operating noise restrictions and follow procedures to reduce noise imposed by a NAV CANADA in the Canada Air Pilot and the Canadian Flight Supplement. Penalties for violation of these operations and restrictions can be as high as $5,000 for an individual and $25,000 for the company for each case. NAV CANADA updates these publications every 56 days to ensure the aircrafts apply the latest operating standards (“Aircraft Noise Management,” 2012).
Chisinau airport in line with the government of the country developed the following measures to reduce aircraft noise pollution. Firstly, the local government banned construction of houses in the northeast, northwest and east of the village Bacioi, which is located close to the airport. Secondly, construction of any building in the village Bacioi must be agreed with the municipality of Chisinau. In addition, the airport must observe the established air corridors for the landing and take-off on a new runway and develop a project to create sanitary protection zones for Chisinau International Airport (NTA. Chisinau Airport, 2009).
Other Strategies: “Green” Aircraft
Other strategies to fight noise and emissions include transition to a new type of aircraft based on the flying wing concept. This ultra-wide aircraft fuselage smoothly goes into the wing. Such construction reduces turbulence and consequently improves aerodynamic performance and reduces noise. Air is taken by engines placed on the upper surface of the housing, which is converted into an effective sound screen. Such strategy is known as a “green” aircraft (Kuznetsov, Munin, & Samokhin, 2009).
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Initially, runways of Moscow airports were arranged in such a way that had minimum effect on the residential area. However, due to the recent activity of developers, this is not possible anymore. As a result, for example, Domodedovo Airport uses so-called method of radar vectoring, when the manager calculates the trajectory for each aircraft. Thus, it is possible to define exactly that noise will be within the radius of 5 km from the airport. However, it is difficult to predict its further movement.
To conclude, reducing the adverse effects of aircraft on the environment is a crucial scientific and technical problem. The most effective approach to solving this problem is the comprehensive approach, which allows significantly decreasing adverse effects of aircraft noise on the environment in a shorter time and with lower cost. The integrated approach includes reduction of the harmful effects of noise, the use of special techniques of piloting, rational organization of air traffic, introduction of construction and planning of activities, limitation of harmful effects around airports and control over their observance. Noise control strategies around airports can be applied in the following areas: automation of aircraft control, provision of precise navigation, optimization of flight, imposition of certain restrictions of night-time flights, Quota Count System, ban on the construction of additional runways, fines and compensations, rational land-use, prohibition of construction of residential areas near the airport, etc. All these strategies will reduce the negative impact of aircraft noise on the environment and human health.