A year-long initiative to reduce aircraft noise and emissions at Birmingham Airport has produced a marked decline in both, according to officials.
The scheme, which encourages approaching aircraft to swap a power-hungry landing technique for an eco-friendly version, dubbed Continuous Descent Approach (CDA), has helped the airport to reduce CO2 emissions by 13,000 tonnes in the past year alone.
Officials note that 95% of planes coming into Birmingham now utilise CDA, and 99% of aircraft stay within their designated flight paths, helping to reduce noise over residential areas. In addition, the average plane landing at the West Midlands airport saves 100kg of fuel per approach, and 315kg of CO2.
Historically, aircraft noise has been something of a hot potato in Birmingham, especially as the airport receives military planes carrying injured soldiers to Solihull Hospital. However, officials claim that airport noise is also down, to the tune of 1-5 decibels per landing.
Combined, the improvements are part of the Sustainable Aviation initiative, which encourages airports and airlines to turn ‘green,’ and spare the environment from harmful fumes and light bulb-shattering noise. CDA is a key element of Sustainable Aviation, but Birmingham are also trying to reduce pollution from taxiing planes, and those being boarded.
Making grounded planes cleaner comes under another initiative altogether, the imaginatively named 'Aircraft on the Ground CO2 Reduction Programme'.
Paul Waite of NATS, or National Air Traffic Services, commended Birmingham on its efforts to reduce emissions: “Birmingham is one of the most successful airports using CDA”, Paul explained. He continued to state: “It is evident that NATS, Birmingham Airport, and local airlines are fully committed to tackling environmental issues”.
Birmingham has also unveiled a new Google Earth tool, which will allow residents (and, indeed, anybody who hopes to move to Birmingham) to see how airport operations affect their local area. The tool will display information on aircraft noise, sound insulation, air quality, and flight paths.