Aircraft noise affects communities living around airports and under flightpaths. Despite technological advances, ICAO’s trend assessments show that the number of people exposed to aircraft noise globally could increase by up to 50% in 2036 compared with levels in 2006. As well as annoyance, aircraft noise is linked to sleep disturbance, impacts on memory and learning functions in children, and health impacts.
Emissions from aircraft and airport related-sources contribute to local air pollution. Airports in many parts of the world are located in areas where air quality already exceeds maximum levels to protect human health from the adverse effects of NOx emissions and particulate matter (PM).
In an attempt to minimize both noise and air quality impacts, a combination of measures are deployed including technological and operational improvements, land use planning, operational restrictions, and economic measures to create the right incentives.
Many of these measures are the responsibility of industry, local authorities, and national governments, but ICAO, through its Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP), sets standards to regulate aircraft noise, and NOx and PM emissions within the landing and take-off cycle. Guidance also exists to tackle air quality at airports and states are encouraged to use the ‘balanced approach’ to aircraft noise management.
The stringency of these standards is periodically reviewed by CAEP. ICSA engages in these discussions to highlight community concerns and press for the most environmentally-effective outcomes.