With over 100 aircraft movements per day, the airport’s operation has the potential to disturb people. With this in mind, we work hard to reduce the noise impact of our operations, particularly at night.
The airport is committed to:
- Developing a noise amelioration programme to influence the operation of aircraft, with the aim of minimising noise generation and the over-flying of populated areas
- Seek to minimise the impact of noise from all aspects of the operation of aircraft and the airport
In order to reduce aircraft noise and, where possible, the number of people exposed to aircraft noise, the airport has a number of key work streams.
The airport firmly believes that the first step to reducing the impact of aircraft noise is to reduce noise itself.
With the support of airlines and air traffic controllers, the airport has adopted a range of operating techniques.
Noise preferential routes
Our noise preferential routes (NPRs) were first implemented in 2001. They are designed to ensure that departing aircraft avoid built up areas when taking off.
Prior to departure, air traffic control allocate each departing flight one of six NPRs which it must then follow. Whilst the autopilot systems of most modern aircraft enable them to follow our NPRs very accurately, there are occasions when this is not possible. For example, adverse weather conditions or the presence of other aircraft may mean it would be unsafe for a departing aircraft to remain within it’s allocated NPR.
Continuous Descent Approach
East Midlands Airport was one of the first European airports to promote the Continuous Descent Approach (CDA). This technique involves descending aircraft establishing an optimum rate of descent, which removes the level periods of flight.
The CDA is a difficult technique for pilots to achieve. It involves flying an aircraft in an unusual configuration and can be prevented by the presence of other aircraft, unexpected air traffic control routings or adverse weather conditions.
Environmentally the CDA technique offers significant benefits. Because level segments are reduced and a more gradual approach flown, aircraft remain higher for longer. This reduces noise levels on the ground. Furthermore, because arriving aircraft are continually descending, engine power settings can be reduced – resulting in additional noise reductions, plus reduced fuel burn and associated emissions.
Ground engine testing
Following aircraft maintenance work, it is sometimes necessary to run or test aircraft engines whilst on the ground.
The airport understands that this can disturb some of our closest neighbours and we have procedures to reduce the impact of this type of operation.
Every engine test requires the prior permission of both airfield operations and air traffic control. When issuing an engine run permit, our Airfield Operations Supervisors consider the prevailing wind conditions at that time, agreeing a location which will reduce the exposure of neighbouring properties to extreme noise levels. Engine run permits will not be issued between the hours of 2300 – 0700 unless the aircraft in question is scheduled to depart during, or shortly after the night time period.
With an established express freight operation and as a result of the need for next day delivery, East Midlands Airport has a significant night time operation. We recognise that aircraft noise at night causes a particular disturbance and we are committed to reducing this.
The airport has an established night noise policy, which prohibits the scheduling of older, noisier aircraft for night time departures. On occasions where the scheduled departure of these aircraft is delayed and the operator chooses to depart a night noise surcharge of £10,000 or £5,000 (depending on the aircraft in question) is paid to the airport’s community fund.
In addition, all departing aircraft must operate within pre-defined noise limits. Aircraft exceeding these limits are fined £750 for the first decibel and an additional £150 for each further decibel. All night noise fines are paid to the airport’s community fund.
For a number of years, the airport has been working with airlines to influence fleet changes in favour of quieter aircraft types. Our approach has been successful with major operators; including DHL, announcing quieter, more environmentally friendly fleets to be based at East Midlands Airport.
Aircraft performance and noise monitoring
With a strong commitment to reducing and managing the impact of aircraft noise, the airport has invested significantly in monitoring systems to enable us to monitor and improve performance.
These sections outline the monitoring we undertake and how information gathered is publically reported.
In order to monitor flight paths and the performance of aircraft operating to or from the airport, East Midlands Airport has invested significantly in a noise and track monitoring system (NTMS).
Taking information from our flight information databases, this system is strengthened by our recent investment in a multilateration network. This hi-tech system provides us with more information about aircraft movements to and from the airport.
In addition, the airport operates aircraft noise monitoring equipment in the vicinity of the airport. These monitors also contribute to our NTMS which correlates noise events to aircraft tracks and enables us to produce community noise reports and enforce night noise fines. In addition to the noise monitors permanently located in Castle Donington, Kegworth, Sutton Bonington, Weston on Trent and Wilson, a portable noise monitor is also used to enable monitoring in other locations.
On a monthly basis, community noise reports for Castle Donington and Kegworth are published online. We also publish Noise Preferential Route and Continuous Descent Approach compliance statistics for major airlines.
Each year we asses the impact of aircraft noise by commissioning the production of noise contours.