In 2002, the European Union adopted a Directive which introduced some noise-related operating restrictions. This Directive was based upon the "Balanced Approach", agreed and recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The Balanced Approach comprises of four principal elements:
- reduction of aviation noise at source (by making aircraft quieter through noise standards)
- managing the land around airports in a sustainable way
- adapting operational procedures to reduce the noise impact on the ground; and
- if required, introducing operating restrictions.
The European Commission has proposed to replace this Directive with a Regulation with the aim of introducing noise-related operating restrictions on an airport-by-airport basis. The basic framework will be ICAO’s balance approach translated into a combination of noise-mitigation measures, cost-benefit analysis and consultation. The scope will be for EU airports with more than 50,000 movements per year.
The proposal also includes other operational constraints and restrictions on airlines – for example, use of ‘marginally compliant aircraft’.
Along with the other airlines associations, IACA would like the following amendments included in the Commission’s proposal:
- A less stringent definition of “marginally compliant aircraft
- A full reference to the ‘Balanced Approach’ (i.e. meaning the method defined in Volume 1, Part V of Annex 16 to the Chicago Convention)
- A lower administrative burden on airlines, as the Commission should obtain noise data first from Eurocontrol and Member States’ sources, before requesting it from airlines. In any case, the Commission should bear the cost of providing the data
- The inclusion of “economic effects, including potential effects on regional economies” in the list of assessment elements for noise-mitigation measures mentioned in the Annex to the Regulation.