Aircraft noise performance at European airports

Aircraft that were only compliant with ICAO Annex 16, Volume I, Chapter 2 noise certification limits were no longer permitted to operate in Europe from 1 April 2002 [69]. Following the implementation of the balanced approach in 2002 [8], operating restrictions are now considered at an airport level rather than a regional level. The Balanced Approach Regulation (EU) 598/2014 defines an ‘operating restriction’ as a noise-related action that limits access to or reduces the operational capacity of an airport. This includes the banning of operations by so-called ‘marginally compliant’ aircraft that are defined as having a cumulative margin14 of less than 10 EPNdB15 to the ICAO Annex 16, Volume I, Chapter 3 noise certification limits. Figure 5.2 illustrates the share of EU28+EFTA aircraft operations split into three categories based on their margin to the Chapter 3 limits.

The ICAO Resolution A39-1 Appendix E [70], which was adopted in 2016, urges States not to permit the introduction of any operating restrictions aimed at aircraft that comply with the noise standards in Chapter 4 and Chapter 14 and any further stringency levels adopted by the ICAO Council. Currently less than 5% of EU28+EFTA aircraft operations do not comply with these standards.


14 ‘Cumulative margin’ is the figure expressed in EPNdB obtained by adding the individual margins (i.e. the differences between the certified noise level and the maximum permitted noise level) at each of the three reference noise measurement points in Chapter 3.
15 The definition of a marginally compliant aircraft is currently 8 EPNdB and will increase to 10 EPNdB on 14 June 2020. This is equivalent to the Chapter 4 noise certification limits.