Gatwick addresses aircraft noise issue as recovery continues

Posted on 21 March, 2022 by Advance 

Gatwick recognises that aircraft noise is an issue for some people and is warning that noise levels may progressively return to more noticeable levels – when flight numbers move towards more normal levels when the South Terminal reopens on 27th March – after two comparatively quiet years.

Image courtesy Gatwick

The airport however is also highlighting the wide range of economic benefits that its recovery will deliver for the region, including improved livelihoods for individuals and families, export opportunities for businesses and a dramatic increase in available destinations for long overdue visits to friends and family and holidays.

Around 5000 jobs have been on offer across the airport campus recently, with Gatwick itself recruiting more than 400 new roles, and another 1200 other airport jobs on offer at a local  recruitment fair earlier this week.  More broadly, the airport’s revival could generate £8.4 billion added value to the economy by 2028 - enough to fund 222,000 primary school places or 70,000 nurses across the region.

While aircraft noise may become more noticeable from the end of the month, flight numbers – and associated aircraft noise - are however likely to remain below 2019 levels for several years.

Pre-pandemic, the introduction of quieter aircraft – such as the A320 neo – also helped Gatwick’s noise footprint reduce, despite increasing flight numbers.  The airport estimates that quieter aircraft will form a majority (>50%) of its fleet over coming years, with airlines such as easyJet, Wizz Air, British Airways, Ryanair, JetBlue and Air Transat all introducing more of these quieter aircraft in coming years.

Andy Sinclair, Head of Noise and Airspace Strategy, Gatwick Airport said: “We’re very conscious that, as flight numbers return towards more normal levels, the associated noise may – for some people - be more noticeable than usual, particularly after the last two, comparatively quiet years.

“Obviously we can never eliminate noise completely.  However, we do as much as we can to strike a balance between reducing or mitigating aircraft noise, and facilitating the economic benefits that Gatwick delivers, including jobs for local people and benefits for businesses.  

“In addition to quieter aircraft, we’ve put a number of other measures in place to limit, and where possible reduce aircraft noise including new noise monitoring technology, a well-regarded noise insulation scheme and a new Airline Noise Performance Table to encourage improved noise performance. Of course, there’s always more we can do and we will constantly strive to bring forward new initiatives through our Noise Management Board, an independent body, which brings together community representatives and industry to reduce and better manage aircraft noise around Gatwick.”

Gatwick’s noise reduction and mitigation measures:

There are specific noise abatement procedures that Gatwick asks aircraft to follow to limit noise impacts on local communities. The Airport monitors adherence to these procedures and raises non-compliance with the airlines and air traffic control agencies.

The new Airline Noise Performance Table is designed to encourage airlines to limit and reduce their noise impact by continually improving their operation and enhancing their aircraft fleets. The programme involves evaluating noise performance using a set of metrics, engaging directly with selected airlines to discuss performance and reporting the results publicly to incentivise good practice.

Gatwick has invested £1 million in new technology that dramatically improves the monitoring of aircraft noise, including 20 noise monitors in places like Russ Hill, Charlwood and Bellwood. Airlines use this data to analyse how they can improve the performance of their flights in terms of track keeping and noise. Local residents can also access the information and generate their own noise or overflight reports on demand.

Gatwick offers a Noise Insulation Scheme, which applies to eligible homes across Surrey, Sussex and Kent, who can apply for up to £3,000 plus VAT towards double glazing for their windows and doors, as well as loft insulation.

Gatwick constantly strive to bring forward new initiatives through the Noise Management Board, an independent body, which brings together community representatives and industry to reduce and better manage aircraft noise around Gatwick.