Our Approach to Aircraft Noise Management

Our approach to aircraft noise management is consistent with four elements that have been recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO is the body responsible for setting and recommending aircraft noise standards and practices. All Qantas aircraft meet or exceed ICAO's aircraft noise standards.

Key Considerations in Aircraft Noise Management:

Read more: ICAO's "Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise Management

1. Quieter Aircraft - reducing noise at its source

Our fleet renewal program has significantly reduced our aircraft noise since we started flying jet aircraft in 1959. Aircraft noise is measured at three locations.

Certified Noise Measurement Locations:

  • Under the aircraft on approach (approach point)
  • Next to the aircraft on departure (sideline)
  • Under the aircraft on departure (take-off point)
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Noise Standards

In Australia, aircraft noise standards are set by ICAO and are administered by the Australian Government through the Department of Infrastructure and Transport.

Aircraft noise standards are phased in and increase over time to progressively limit the amount of noise aircraft are allowed to make.

ICAO Provisions for aircraft noise are located in Annex 16 Volume 1. Currently, chapters 3 and 4 are in force.

The Chapter 4 standards are the most stringent and apply to aircraft manufactured in 2006 or afterwards. All Qantas aircraft meet or exceed these standards. Below highlights the noise reductions of the Qantas Fleet.

2. Land-use Planning and Management

Well planned land-use will help minimise noise impacts on future residents. Qantas recommends against placing inappropriate development under flight paths this would add more residents to areas that we know are already impacted by aircraft noise.

3. Noise Abatement Operational Procedures

Qantas uses special take-off and landing procedures to minimise aircraft noise. In addition, our pilots adhere to any additional airport-specific noise abatement procedures, (like noise abatement zones, engine run up restrictions and preferred runways or flight paths) that may be required.

Noise Abatement

Noise Abatement Departure

Following international standards, Qantas pilots reduce aircraft noise during departures by using reducing engine thrust at a safe altitude.

Noise Abatement Landing

Due to the noise air makes when passing over a plane's body, pilots adjust deployment of landing gear and flaps in such a way as to reduce impacts on communities. They also lower engine thrust wherever appropriate to further minimise noise.

A Constant Descent Approach (CDA) is a procedure that allows aircraft to 'glide' to the runway at a safe idling speed. A CDA produces less noise than the conventional 'stepped' approach because it (a) keeps aircraft higher for longer and (b) uses lower thrust settings. A CDA also benefits the environment because it requires less fuel burn.

Required Navigation Performance (RNP)

Advances in navigational technology allow us to further reduce aircraft noise. Required Navigation Performance (RNP) uses the capability of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and flight management computers (FMC) to design more flexible procedures, including three dimensional curved flight paths.

This technology allows us to design flight paths that can avoid noise sensitive areas or share the noise between multiple flight paths.

Case Study: Canberra Airport
Jerrabomberra is a suburb near the Canberra airport. Qantas worked with community groups to design a new curved flight path using RNP procedures. By moving the flight path away from the residential houses, we have been able to reduce the noise of this aircraft by 10dBA, the equivalent of halving the noise.

4. Operating Restrictions

Qantas feels that operating restrictions should only be considered after other noise management options have been exhausted. This is because operating restrictions can increase air traffic congestion and reduce flight schedule flexibility for passengers.

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