Although individual aircraft have become some 75 % less noisy over the last 30 years, the growing amount of air traffic means that many EU citizens are still exposed to high noise levels. In order to ensure the sustainability of aviation, measures targeting the noise impact will remain necessary at a number of important airports. However, noise-related measures constrain not only airport capacity at a particular airport but also the aviation system as a whole through knock-on effects. Therefore, decisions on noise measures and the desired level of noise protection must be balanced against the overall capacity implications.
That was why the European Community adopted Regulation (EU) No 598/2014 on the procedures concerning the introduction of noise-related operating restrictions. As restrictions also impact air carriers from non-EU countries, the Regulation is compliant with international principles on noise management, the so-called "Balanced Approach", agreed and recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The Balanced Approach comprises four principal elements. These are:
- making aeroplanes quieter by setting noise standards;
- managing the land around airports in a sustainable way;
- adapting operational procedures to reduce the noise impact on the ground; and
- introducing operating restrictions.
The EU rules establish a clear and transparent procedure to introduce operating restrictions so that decisions are evidence-based and offer optimal solutions for noise problems with regard to safety, capacity and cost.
Regulation (EU) No 598/2014 on the establishment of rules and procedures with regard to the introduction of noise-related operating restrictions at Union airports within a Balanced Approach and repealing Directive 2002/30/EC