All-night flights at Heathrow

Emirates have floated the idea of flying their Airbus A380′s into Heathrow during the current curfew hours. They argue that the A380′s are much quieter than other aircraft and disruption will be minimal.

Unfortunately, this rather misses the point.

If you live in a city, especially if you are near an aircraft flight-path, you get used to noise. It is not just aircraft noise but traffic, police sirens and all the general hub-hub of a big city.

At the moment, the airport is allowed to accept some flights during its normal closed hours when there has been significant disruption to schedules due to weather or some other problem. During normal hours, aircraft are taking off or landing every minute or so. The noise just blends into the background, along with all the standard noise of the city. The occasional “out of hours” landing causes much more disruption because it happens when there is relatively little other noise. Instead of a fairly constant drone, which your brain blocks off, there is a sudden, loud noise for a couple of minutes as the aircraft passes above.

As for A380′s being so much quieter than other jets. Maybe they are, but they are certainly not silent!

In other words, a couple of one-off landings by A380′s during the middle of the night will cause much greater disruption than any normal flight during the day.

Definitely not a good idea!

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