Gatwick Airport’s ‘noise footprint’ has reduced in the past year, despite the number of aircraft increasing by one per cent.
A statement from the airport says that the Noise Management Board (NMB) first met two years ago and its initiative to modify the A320 family of aircraft so they make less noise has helped to reduce the area of Gatwick’s noise footprint by 3% in 2017 - compared to 2016 - according to the annual independent noise contour analysis by the Civil Aviation Authority.
This is despite an increase in aircraft.
An NMB initiative to shrink the noise footprint saw the A320 family of aircraft modified so that they no longer made a pitched whine sound during parts of their approach to landing.
These aircraft currently fly more than half of all Gatwick flights but – following a change in financial charges to encourage airlines to use quieter aircraft - 97% of A320s have now been adapted, reducing the noise and, according to the airport, generating positive feedback from local communities.
In terms of future noise reductions, the next generation of these aircraft (A320neo/ A321neo) are up to 50% quieter than their predecessors and have started to come into service at Gatwick.
Andy Sinclair, Gatwick’s Head of Airspace, said: “The reduced noise footprint is welcome and demonstrates encouraging progress, but we also recognise that noise continues to be an issue for local residents and we will push on with our challenge to reduce noise further.
“Some of the work we are progressing will deliver further improvements over both the short and longer term. This includes the large scale redesign of London and Gatwick’s airspace, which has the potential to reduce noise from the airport further still.”
Bo Redeborn, Chairman of the Noise Management Board, said: “The NMB’s reason for being is to improve life for those affected by noise from aircraft flying in and out of Gatwick and the airport’s shrinking noise footprint suggests that we are starting to make some progress toward this aim.
“For example, a Continuous Decent Approach (CDA) means that aircraft use less thrust and generate less noise by descending at a continuous rate, rather than a stepped approach, and the CDA conformance at Gatwick was raised for all arrivals from 6,000 to 7,000ft to reduce noise even further.
“Next generation aircraft that are up to 50% quieter have also started flying at Gatwick and over the next few years these will become the workhorses of the airport and will help reduce noise even more.”