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British Airways' short-haul fleet top performer in latest Fly Quiet
Covering July to September 2014, the fifth Fly Quiet table rated the top 50 airlines operating at London Heathrow (by number of flights per quarter) according to six noise-related criteria. The airlines received a red/amber/green rating for each criterion, as well as an overall score that allows them to understand how they are performing in relation to other airlines. The top five performers - British Airways' short-haul fleet, Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic Little Red, Virgin Atlantic Airways, American Airlines - have remained the same over the past two league tables, highlighting these airlines' consistently good noise performance at the airport.

This quarter revealed the improved performance of Austrian Airlines, which jumped the most places ahead, compared to other operators at the airport.

Thai Airlines succeeded in reducing the noise footprint of its fleet by opting to operate quieter, newer aircraft this quarter. This resulted in the airline lowering its QC/Seat score, and improving its chapter number scores.

This quarter, airlines rating amber and red increased by ten compared to the last quarter in their use of the ‘Continuous Descent Approach’ (CDA). While at the moment, over 85% of daytime and over 90% of night-time arrivals at Heathrow achieve a CDA, the scores in this quarter make it clear some airlines need to improve their use of this quiet landing technique.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye has written to those airlines failing to meet Heathrow’s CDA standards, asking for engagement from their technical teams with the airport to increase CDA adherence. Improvements in quiet approaches is a vital part of Heathrow’s new blueprint for noise reduction, which outlines ten steps to reduce noise impacts from the airport by summer 2015.

Contrary to the last quarter, in which all airlines adhered to night time operation limits, this quarter there were three unscheduled arrivals by airlines before 06:00 am.

Heathrow commends the airlines that have contributed to improving the noise environment around the airport, and will work closely with those airlines that did not meet the minimum performance targets this quarter to improve their rating.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Director of Sustainability says:

“Since the inception of the Fly Quiet League, we have been able to rely on the continued good performance of the airlines who consistently dominate the top ranks of the table. However, we also want to highlight and encourage those that have made an improvement to the way they operate, and will help them to continue this trend. We believe it is only by working proactively with our partners that Heathrow airport can be a better, quieter neighbour to local residents.”

The Fly Quiet Programme forms part of Heathrow’s wider noise action plan to tackle aircraft noise. On average, due to Heathrow’s mix of strict operating restrictions and noise– reducing incentives, aircraft that airlines use at Heathrow are on average around 15% quieter than the global fleet of those airlines.


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