ACI and CANSO call for a new approach to community engagement on noise


Airports Council International (ACI) World and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) have today presented a paper to the 40th International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly on the crucial issue of how the industry manages the impact of noise.

ACI and CANSO have proposed that ICAO formally recognises community engagement as an integral part of the ICAO Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise considering its relevance and effectiveness in identifying practical solutions which include community feedback.

The complexity of managing aircraft-related noise, its impact on a variety of stakeholder groups, and the challenges posed by new technological developments call for a more practical, global approach to noise management. Experience has shown that noise discussions and solutions are more effective when developed using community feedback.

Research has found that actual noise exposure is only responsible for around 30% of community concerns, with other factors such as attitudes towards airports, local authorities, or the aviation industry in general playing a contributing role. ACI and CANSO believe that improving our understanding of the factors which make up the bulk of concerns is needed so that better policies and actions can be developed and planned.

“Despite the reduced noise footprint of individual aircraft and the widespread introduction of noise insulation programs and new operational procedures, more individuals and communities are expressing negative attitudes towards airports and aviation activities,” ACI World Director General Angela Gittens said.

“This could have a negative impact on the ability of aviation to grow to meet increasing demand so it is important that all the factors which contribute to community concern are fully understood and plans and policies can be made to address them.

“Communities have always been at the core of airports’ noise management initiatives and ACI and CANSO believe community engagement should become more codified as a cross-cutting element which supports the implementation of the ICAO Balanced Approach.”

ACI and CANSO believe that the four elements of the Balanced Approach should remain the foundation of aircraft noise management worldwide. They are defined by ICAO as:

  • Reduction of noise at source
  • Land-use planning and management
  • Noise abatement operational procedures, and
  • Operating restrictions on aircraft.

The Balanced Approach provides for a globally harmonised framework, suitable for aviation as an international industry, while also recognising the varying local situations of airports.

“Managing aviation-related noise is a complex issue and requires the whole aviation community to work together to improve performance, from aircraft design, trajectory and speed, to optimal flight routing and seamless ground-to-air operations,” CANSO Director General Simon Hocquard said. “The air traffic management (ATM) industry has an important role to play in this. ATM is helping to optimise the use of airspace and ensure safe, efficient and effective airborne operations. But there is still work to be done. Our collaboration with ACI has shown that the involvement of local communities in the process of enhancing aviation helps ensure we are socially and environmentally responsible in everything we do.

“ACI and CANSO believe that effective community engagement is key for the development of aviation, and that by ensuring all stakeholder perspectives are taken into account, the industry can further develop appropriate, sustainable solutions for managing the impacts of aviation, including noise, both now and in the future. In doing this, we both effectively address the views of the communities which facilitate vital connectivity worldwide, and ensure we are providing the best possible service to the flying public.”