Need Help?

We work proactively with ICAO to ensure standards are established to minimize aviation impacts on noise and local air quality.

Need Help?

Need Help?

Aircraft noise is the most significant cause of adverse community reaction related to the operation and expansion of airports. However, aircraft noise is also an inevitable consequence of a dynamic industry that benefits the global society, such as delivering connectivity for passengers and cargo, creating jobs, facilitating international trade and tourism.

Aviation is committed to continuing to reduce noise impact. From 2009 to 2022, airlines have invested more than $1.5 trillion in 10,000 new aircraft around the world, whose noise footprint is reduced by at least 15%. The industry is also fully engaged in wider efforts to mitigate impact on the local environment and is working with authorities, airports and local communities to address noise problems locally.

ICAO Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise Management

The ICAO Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise Management is the global overarching ICAO policy on aircraft noise. Since noise situation at each airport is unique, the Balanced Approach requires that all available options be evaluated to identify the most suitable measures.

The four ICAO Balanced Approach pillars:

Reduction at source

Review of aircraft noise standards against aircraft technology and adoption of the noise certification Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) in Annex 16, Volume I, to the Chicago Convention.

Land-use management and planning

Directing incompatible land use (such as houses and schools) away from the airport environs and encouraging compatible land use (such as industrial and commercial use) to locate around airport facilities.

Noise abatement operational procedures

Implementation of “quieter” flying procedures to minimize impact by reducing the level of noise perceived at particular locations.

Operating restrictions (as a last resort)

Limiting or reducing access to an airport should only be introduced after a cost-effectiveness analysis of all available measures to address a demonstrated noise problem at an airport.

For more information:

Negative impacts of curfews and night-time restrictions

At hub airports, early morning arrivals enable passengers to connect to a large number of flights. If these flights can no longer be operated or have to be rescheduled to a later time, many of these connections will become impossible – potentially reducing the viability of the flights. Loss of connectivity and night-time restrictions will also negatively affect the delivery of time-sensitive products, such as pharmaceutical freight and perishable products. Night flights are critical for express delivery services, the transport of mail and time-sensitive products.

ICAO new noise standards

Aircraft noise certification standards already exist for subsonic jet and propeller-driven airplanes. ICAO is currently working on developing new standards for aircraft noise emissions including:

  • Noise standards for supersonic aircraft
  • Dual CO2 – noise standards for subsonic aircraft

IATA is a proactive member of these working groups to ensure standards are established to minimize noise impacts of aviation.

Limiting engine emissions through technology

Emissions from aircraft engines that affect air quality are nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), sulphur oxides (SOx), unburned hydrocarbons (HC), smoke and particulate matter (PM). Improved engine designs have gradually reduced the emissions of NOx and CO and have almost completely eliminated emissions of unburned hydrocarbons (HC) and smoke.

Certification standards for engine emissions

Aircraft engines have to meet mandatory certification requirements established by ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection. ICAO has adopted certification standards for NOx, CO, HC and smoke. In 2020, ICAO adopted a new certification requirement for non-volatile particulate matter, which will apply to new engine types from 2023.

A comprehensive approach

Aircraft are not the only or even the main source of local emissions around airports. Their contribution is relatively small compared to emissions from road traffic and other ground activities. Therefore, all sources must be considered in order to reduce total emissions. Measures should include, for instance, clean and efficient surface access to airports.