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Measurement and Management of Aircraft Noise


The noise of aircraft taking off at landing at airports affects the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of people on daily basis across the UK and millions across the EU. The disturbance caused by aircraft noise in communities around airports and along their approach and departure routes can threaten airport growth. This disturbance is consistently given as the main reason to refuse planning approval for airport growth. Most airports across Europe are subject to noise related operational restrictions or even limits. This represents a significant loss of capacity across the air transport system. Airports and airlines invest significant funds to reduce noise disturbance.


Understanding the whole problem

The course takes a holistic approach to understanding the challenge of managing noise. It combines consideration of the physics of noise and solutions for control with an understanding of the social, corporate and regulatory impacts and frameworks involved in airport development

The course is delivered over three days through a series of sessions which cover:

An introduction to noise in the context of airport development

Providing an overview of the history of aircraft noise, noise capacity constraints at airports and the way in which sustainable development affects airport growth


The impact of noise on peoples lives

Examining how noise impacts on health (including sleep disturbance and education impact) and the disturbance caused by aircraft noise. This includes a consideration of community responses and attitudes to noise.


Assessment of community impacts and attitudes

Reviewing the way in which concerns and complaints from communities can be taken into consideration in the development process. The role and management of social surveys, stakeholder engagement and consultation in this process are explored.


Assessment of noise exposure

Developing an understanding the physics of noise and the way in which it can be modelled and monitored.


Noise control

Providing an overview of the different control solutions available for noise control. This session covers a variety of approaches including land use planning, technology, operation practices, infrastructure and mitigation.


Noise management systems

Examining noise management systems, this sessions includes consideration of corporate responsibility, collaborative management and decision making and development of strategies, systems, policies and plans.


The regulatory framework

Reviewing the regulatory frameworks applicable at an international (International Civil Aviation Organisation, EU), national and local level.


Planning and infrastructure developments

Developing an understanding of planning systems, noise impact assessment and how growth within noise limits can be achieved


Putting theory into practice

During the course there is the opportunity to put theory into practice through practical exercises. Exercises focus on systems used to monitor and demonstrate aircraft noise and tracking performance and the way in which community complaints can be used to inform the future development of airports at both a strategic and operational level.


Practical exercises

Practical I. Noise modelling and noise monitoring

Demonstration of:

Airport on-line noise and track monitoring system and complaints handling

Demonstration of ISIS software

Demonstration of FAA noise modelling system

Practical II. Noise and runway development

Participants examine information relating to the noise and other environmental impacts (e.g. climate change, ecology) associated with three different runway development options. A variety of different communities would be affected by the noise arising from each Option. Communities differ in a variety of socio-economic and other characteristics (levels of affluence, noise sensitive industries such as tourism and culturally sensitive sites). Participants can select from a range of tools to mitigate the noise impact associated with each option. They would consider whether to give planning approval given the likely additional impact upon communities and the option that would be most likely to secure planning approval (that which would ensure the long term sustainable development of the airport).


Potential clients

  • Aviation industry professionals: airport, airline and ATM managers
  • Central and local government officers with environment responsibility for or involvement in airport developments and operations
  • NGO staff concerned with sustainability community or environmental issues
  • Aerospace involved in research into aviation, sustainability or environmental issues
  • Aerospace professional charges with innovating or delivering more sustainable technologies

Learning outcome

The course will provide a high level understanding of:

The issue of aircraft noise

Its impact upon communities

Its potential to contrain airports – regulatory and community limits

Noise exposure and impact assessment

Noise control  – technology, operations, infrastructure

Airport community relations

Noise implications for the airport, airline, ATM service providers



Prof. Callum Thomas

Prof. Colin waters

Dr. Paul Hooper

Dr. Ken Hume

Tom Johnson

Holly preston

Rebecca Wiles


Course content

Session I. Introduction

  • The history of aircraft noise
  • Noise and airport growth
  • Noise capacity constraints at airports
  • Sustainable development – limits to growth


Session II.  The impact of noise on peoples lives (TJ – AEF)

  • Noise and health including sleep disturbance education impacts
  • The disturbance caused by aircraft noise
  • Noise impacts, community response, attitudes and reaction


Session III. Regulators

  • ICAO
  • EU
  • National
  • Local
  • Planning issues


Session IV. Assessment of noise exposure

  • The physics of noise
  • Noise modelling, noise monitoring, noise indicators


Session V. Assessment of community impacts/Attitudes

  • Complaints
  • Social surveys
  • Stakeholder engagement, managing consultation


Session VI. Noise Control

  • Land use planning – airport location and infrastructure alignment
  • Technology – history of aircraft noise design, forecasts of future developments
  • Operational practices – the role of the airline, airport, ATM provider

Session VII. Noise Management Systems

  • Corporate responsibility
  • Noise management strategy, system, policies, plans
  • Collaborative noise management and decision making by the airports operator, airlines and the ATM

Session VIII. Planning infrastructure developments

  • The planning system
  • Noise impact assessment
  • Growing within noise limits


Session IX. Conclusion

  • Review of principle messages
  • Further reading resources