SAA named and shamed for Heathrow noise

London - Heathrow has launched a new programme, which ranks airlines according to their noise levels. 

Known as the ‘Fly Quiet programme,' a table will be released every three months listing the 50 airlines that use the airport most frequently from quietest to nosiest.

The very first of these tables was released on Wednesday via the and saw SAA being named as the fifth noisiest airline. It was preceded by Turkish Airlines, Thai Airways, El Al and Polish airline, LOT in number one position. British Airways (short haul) was named the quietest with Virgin Atlantic's Little Red in second position.

The table covers the period between July and September this year and the results were based on six noise-related criteria. 

1. Noise efficiency - this metric scores the noise efficiency of an operator's fleet, recognising that whilst larger aircraft tend to be noisier they also carry more passengers.

2. Noise certification - each aircraft is required to have a noise certificate which can be used to determine its relative performance against ICAO noise performance targets

3. Approach - this involves aircraft maintaining a steady angle of approach when landing at the airport, as opposed to stepped approaches which involve prolonged periods of level flight.

4. Departure - CDA involves aircraft maintaining a steady angle of approach when landing at the airport, as opposed to stepped approaches which involve prolonged periods of level flight.

5. Night time operations - There is a voluntary arrangement that aircraft scheduled to land between 0430 and 0600 will not land prior to 0430. This is a very sensitive time and issue for local community groups.

6. No arrivals before 06:00 - Arrivals scheduled to land after 0600 should not land before then unless there are dispensing circumstances

The airlines receive a red/amber/green rating for each criterion, as well as an overall score which allows airlines to understand how they are performing in relation to other airlines. If they are not meeting the minimum performance targets, Heathrow will work closely with them to improve their rating.

Heathrow has some of the world's toughest rules and regulations on noise. As a result, airlines use their quietest aircraft around 15% more on Heathrow routes. The aim of the programme is to ensure this trend continues by encouraging airlines to use the quietest aircraft available and to fly them in the quietest possible way.

By publishing the table each quarter, Heathrow aims to recognise good performance, provide airlines with regular feedback, identify more specific areas to be targeted for improvement, establish minimum performance targets and provide further insight into airline performance.

The Telegraph reports that LOT was below the performance target for both the second and third categories, while BA was the only airline to exceed performance in each category for its short-haul flights.

Check out the full table below and visit for more details.

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