Most of the work to reduce aviation noise is carried out at Swedavia’s larger airports, since that is where the issue is most relevant. The objective is to work so that the noise load around our airports is experienced as being acceptable relative to the social benefits of aviation. We carry out noise calculations and measurements on a regular basis to ensure that we are within the limits of the airports’ environmental permits.
Swedavia’s work to reduce its noise impact includes, among other things, insulating residences in the vicinity against noise, giving priority to airlines that use aircraft that make less noise and promoting “green” flights.
Quiet aircraft pay lower charges
Jet engines are gradually making less noise, thanks to technological advances in the aircraft fleet. Swedavia is driving this development by charging aircraft that make more noise a higher take-off charge at its airports. Furthermore, aircraft that previously made the most noise have been banned from EU airports since 2002.
Curved and green approaches at the airports
To the greatest extent possible, Swedavia tries to ensure that flight paths are outside of densely populated areas. To reduce noise and atmospheric emissions, Swedavia is also working to increase the number of curved and green approaches at its airports.
With curved approaches, aircraft can avoid flying over densely populated areas on their approach. Trials with curved approaches have been carried out at several of Swedavia’s airports. In order to carry out curved approaches, approval from the Swedish Transport Agency is required.
Green approaches, which are carried out at Swedavia’s airports, reduce noise by having an aircraft descend continuously from its cruising altitude to the landing runway. Almost no engine thrust is needed, which also saves fuel and decreases emissions.
As part of our work with green approaches, we took part in the project Green Connection. This was led by LFV, carried out in collaboration with GE, Rockwell Collins, SAS and Swedavia, and funded in part by an EU programme that develops technical and operative conditions for a single European sky (SESAR).
Green Connection was also part of the trans-Atlantic collaboration AIRE – the Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions. By the time the project ended in May 2012, an estimated 100 green approaches in all had been carried out at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. The flights included in the project showed a savings of at least 130 kg of carbon dioxide per approach.
Ongoing dialog with neighbours
Working together with neighbours and communities in the vicinity of airports with the highest noise levels is important. One result of this is that building planning and construction permits are handled based on forecast noise curves, known as influence area contours. We maintain an ongoing dialog with our neighbours, and surveys show that the environmental issues given highest priority are the climate, followed by noise.
Buildings with greatest exposure insulated against noise
To reduce the noise for buildings with the greatest exposure, we insulated these residences. Some 15,000 residents are exposed to aviation noise from Swedavia’s airports exceeding the value of the national standard, 55 dB(A). About 90 per cent of those exposed live near Bromma Stockholm Airport and Stockholm Arlanda Airport.