Responsibly Addressing Aircraft Noise
Technological advancements, operational measures, infrastructure and air traffic management enhancements can all contribute to reduce aircraft noise. Thanks to technology, today's aircraft are 50% quieter than 10 years ago. Research initiatives target a further 50% reduction by 2020.
New noise certification standards
On 1 January 2006, a new noise certification standard (pdf) - Chapter 4 - was introduced for new aircraft designs. Chapter 4 aircraft are at least one third quieter than those certified in accordance with Chapter 3 requirements.
ICAO is working on the development of a new noise standard with more stringent requirements for future aircraft.
A Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise Management
ICAO's Balanced Approach (pdf) provides a transparent process for managing the noise problem on an airport-by-airport basis. It consists in the evaluation of all available options with the goal to identify the most suitable measure or combination of measures to achieve the noise abatement objective with minimal negative impacts on the economy.
IATA worked closely with ICAO's Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) to develop guidance material on the Balanced Approach (pdf), which ICAO has urged all regulators worldwide to implement.
Night Time Operational Restrictions
Night time operational restrictions are increasing, especially in Europe. At some airports, night flights are completely banned. These restrictions can have a serious impact on the economy, next-day delivery services, home-based charters, freight services and intercontinental flights. They can also increase daytime congestion.
IATA has developed a policy on night flights. When appropriate, IATA assists its Member Airlines with lobbying efforts in response to proposed restrictions.
The efforts of the aviation industry to reduce its noise impact are often undermined by inappropriate land-use management. In particular, in spite of an actual reduction of total noise emissions, urban encroachment around some airports has resulted in an increase in the number of people significantly affected by aircraft noise.
Taxes and Charges
The environmental benefit from taxes and charges is very uncertain. In particular, by taking away funds from airlines, taxes and charges do not incentivize investment in new technology but, on the contrary, weaken the ability of the sector to dedicate resources to newer, cleaner equipment. Moreover, as they seek to lower noise through a reduction in demand for air transport services, they undermine aviation’s socio-economic benefits and its key role for trade and tourism.