Noise is one of the main themes of Air France-KLM’s environmental policy. We strive to reduce our impact by taking the necessary measures in dialogue with our local communities. While accommodating the increasing customer demand for mobility, one challenge for the aviation industry is to maintain noise hindrance at an acceptable level for those living near airports.
Air France-KLM Group reduced its noise footprint by 33% between 2000 and 2019, whereas the number of aircraft movements increased by 18% over the same period. The ratio of global noise energy per movement is constantly decreasing and, in 2019, represented a reduction of 43% compared to 2000.
REDUCING NOISE AT SOURCE
Fleet modernization and flight operation improvements are the two pillars of our noise abatement strategy.
We pursue a pro-active policy of fleet renewal and modernization, thereby contributing to the improvement in our energy efficiency and a reduction in our noise footprint.
All of the aircraft in the Air France-KLM fleet meet the criteria established by the ICAO Chapter 4 Noise Standard, the most exacting standard covering the acoustic quality of civil aircraft.
We significantly reduced our noise footprint by withdrawing the noisiest aircraft, Boeing 747s and A340, from operational service, and introducing the 787-9 and A350. The introduction of the Boeing 787-9 and A350 reduces the operational noise footprint by approximately 40% compared to similarly sized aircraft. For this type of aircraft the noise footprint has been reduced to the point that, at each takeoff, the exposure to noise in the surrounding airport area is lower than 85 dB(A) (comparable to the noise of a truck passing)
- Air France retired two A340 aircraft, replacing them with two new B787-9s and three new A350-900s.
- KLM welcomed its first four B787-10s together with four B737-800 aircraft, replacing three B747-400s and two B737-700s..
Noise abatement procedures
Specific solutions are sought to reduce the noise emissions from aircraft. We are working to improve departure and approach procedures, along with the French and Dutch Civil Aviation Authorities who are assessing the environmental benefits of the improved procedures.
When possible, we implement continuous descent or NADP (Noise Abatement Departure Procedure) procedures which significantly reduce noise pollution. The SESAR program also aims to improve the management of noise and its impact through precision landing procedures using satellite navigation and optimized flight paths, including optimized climb and descent operations.
In 2019, KLM proceeded with Noise Abatement Departure Procedure 2 and reduced the acceleration height from 1,500ft to 800ft, which significantly reduces noise pollution and emissions in areas around the airport such as CO2.
DIALOGUE WITH RESIDENTS, AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE THE FRAMEWORK FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Air France and KLM meet with the representatives of local communities, airport and aviation authorities to identify measures and solutions to reduce noise hindrance that could affect people living near airports.
In the Netherlands, KLM has been a longstanding member of the Schiphol Regional Consultative Committee (CROS) for all issues arising in the area around Schiphol. In 2015, a regional council called Omgevingsraad Schiphol (ORS) succeeded the Committee. Today, the council that addresses issues regarding noise with the local community where KLM takes part in is the Regioforum.
In France, Air France fosters a dialogue with residents and partakes in the advisory committees on environment and residents’ issues, such as CCE (Commission Consultative de l’Environnement) and CCAR (Commission Consultative d’Aide aux Riverains) at all the French airports where it operates.
Air France has been actively involved in a Night Flights working Group, overseen by the Prefect of the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport region. This working Group notably proposed new “dead of night” continuous descent procedures and welcomed the voluntary retirement of noisy aircraft including Air France’s Boeing 747s. Air France reaffirmed this commitment with the announcement of the phase-out from the fleet of the Airbus A340s. In 2019, during the French National Air Transportation Debate (Assises du Transport Aérien), the government committed to the widespread application of continuous descent procedures in the medium-term (2023). Lastly, the punctuality of flights scheduled for late at night or early in the morning is the subject of a specific expert monitoring group.
French and Dutch government policies include the exposure to aircraft noise in their urban planning considerations and provide financial help for soundproofing homes.
- In 2019, the Air France Group’s contribution (Air France, Transavia and HOP! Air France) to the French Tax on Air Transport Noise Pollution (TATN) paid to the French government amounted to €18.3 million. Its proceeds are allocated to the financing of sound-proofing for homes located around the main airports. Since the TATN was put in place, around €720 million has been allocated to the sound-proofing of housing, to which Air France has made a substantial contribution.
- Extensive noise control measures have been implemented Around Schiphol Airport. Over the past two decades, KLM has contributed a major portion to the total of €754 million noise taxes, and has been devoted to soundproofing and compensating for loss of property value around Schiphol airport.