KLM Group presents plan ensuring greater reduction in night-time noise
Focus on cleaner, quieter, more efficient flights
The KLM Group has submitted a plan to the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management in response to government’s proposal to reduce noise impact by 20% throughout the day and by 15% at night. The KLM Group embraces further noise abatement. The plan submitted by the KLM Group ensures that the night-time target will be achieved as early as 2024. In three years’ time, these measures will continue to reduce noise for local residents, but also in the years thereafter.
The Netherlands faces major challenges in the coming decades, which will require everyone to help make our country greener and cleaner. At the same time, we want to ensure quieter conditions for people living near airports. That is why the Dutch ministry has set new noise targets.
The minister’s plan focuses on drastically reducing the number of flights to achieve these targets as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this proposal also has many drawbacks. In its current form, the minister’s plan does not revolve around renewal and improvement. No distinction is drawn between newer and older aircraft, which are less clean and less silent. The plan also fails to consider that drastic cutbacks in flights will have an impact on national assets.
The KLM Group therefore proposes a smarter, three-pronged approach.
Firstly: investment in new aircraft. The money we’re earning today will be invested in tomorrow’s cleaner, quieter, more efficient aircraft. The KLM Group will be investing EUR 6 to 7 billion in this in the coming years. New aircraft are on average 50% more silent than the aircraft they replace, constituting a substantial reduction in noise impact, as supported by figures gathered in recent years.
Secondly, the KLM Group has conducted extensive research into adopting smarter processes that will ensure quieter operations. This will also substantially reduce noise impact. Examples include alternative flight approach procedures, ensuring that aircraft spend less time at low altitudes. This implies different climbing and approach procedures, which makes implementation challenging for airlines as well as Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL). However, if all other operators join the KLM Group in pursuing such change, we will be able to achieve our noise targets in cooperation with Schiphol, LVNL and the government. If these agreements are monitored by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT), we can ensure that all airlines adhere to them.
Thirdly, we will adjust flight schedules so that we deploy our quietest aircraft at night. We also propose that higher airport fees are charged for noisier aircraft than for silent aircraft at Schiphol. This will ensure that there is an incentive for all airlines operating at Schiphol to reduce noise impact by deploying their most silent fleet.
We will achieve our night-time targets from 2024 and, in three years’ time, we will achieve our target for the entire day. In the years thereafter, our plan will lead to a stronger decline in noise than the plan proposed by the minister. In three years’ time, the result will already be better for local residents. It’s a choice between scrapping flights as a short-term solution or aiming for smart improvement.
If everyone is prepared to contribute to this challenge, then our plan will ensure that 18% fewer people experience serious nigh-time noise impact by 2024. By 2026, our smart plan will ensure that 20% fewer people will experience noise nuisance throughout the day. This reduction will continue in subsequent years.
Our aim is to reduce impact on the areas surrounding airports. Aiming solely for fewer flights and a strict 2024 deadline, is not the only way. There are other ways to solve this problem. Our approach ensures that noise impact will continue to decline.
We fully accept our responsibility and are acting accordingly. That is why we wish to engage constructively with one another, so that we opt for the smartest approach that will demonstrably lead to a cleaner, quieter, more fuel-efficient solution.
In that context, the KLM Group, together with other parties in the sector (easyJet, TUI, Corendon, BARIN), sought possible packages of measures that comply with the principles of the Balanced Approach. This has resulted in a package of measures that meets the stated noise targets and is more balanced, reasonable and less costly to society in welfare and prosperity.
Update 31 August 2023: the entire document that was sent to the minister can now be found under downloads.
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