Like CO2 emissions, aircraft and airport noise are complex subject matters which have been studied for decades and are still the focus of many research efforts today.
Aircraft noise is regulated through standards that are set internationally and applied when an aircraft is requiring its airworthiness certification. In 2013 ICAO agreed to a new global noise reduction standard (Annex 16 Volume 1 Chapter 14). Aircraft now entering service demonstrate dramatic reductions in noise levels compared with those of the early jet age, with today’s aircraft being some 75% quieter than comparable jet airliners of 0 years ago. The jet engine has traditionally been the major source of noise, and engine manufacturers have continued to improve aircraft engine design, resulting in a sustained reduction in noise each time a new aircraft engine is introduced.
Noise disturbance is a difficult issue to evaluate as it is open to subjective reactions, but it can have significant impacts on for instance people living close to an airport. The EU and its member states have, in line with ICAO guidance, adopted the ‘Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise Management’ to manage noise at airports through Directive 2002/30/EC. Regulation (EU) No 598/2014 establishes rules and procedures for noise-related operating restrictions at EU airports. The Balanced Approach identifies four main elements to reduce noise: reduce the noise generated by individual aircraft through technology development (noise at source); more sophisticated noise abatement operating procedures; noise reduction through proper land use planning and management; and operating restrictions for certain aircraft.
The working body in charge of this issue is the Environment Commission.