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The main regulations for the aviation industry are defined on an international level. Under the umbrella organization that is the United Nations, the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) deals with the issue of reducing aircraft noise. But the airport operator can also regulate this area. Munich Airport does not allow loud aircraft without certificates to ICAO Annex 16 to take off from or land on its premises. For the planned third runway, the same will also apply to aircraft assigned to Chapter 2, or which only marginally fulfill Chapter 3. The EU pursues similar targets: With «Flightpath 2050», it is aiming for a 65 percent reduction in noise emissions by 2050, taking the figures for 2000 as the starting point.
The night-flight curfew includes a noise quota, which is based on aircraft types and sizes, and the number of aircraft movements. During 2018, only 71 percent of the permissible noise volume was used at Munich Airport. In 2018, the mean night-time continuous sound level at the borders to the control zone did not exceed the permitted value of 50 dB(A). The current night-flight curfew, introduced in 2001, will also apply for the planned third runway. The third runway may only be used at night in exceptional circumstances, such as an emergency or closure of one of the other runways.
Munich Airport aims to keep the impact on residents and employees caused by flight noise as low as possible. It applies a range of steps to achieve this, including operational, technical, and financial measures.
Continuous Descent Operations (also known as Continuous Descent Approach, CDA) designates a flight procedure, during which the aircraft descends with its engines set to minimal power (ideally, they should be idling), thus avoiding, in as far as possible, any horizontal flight phases. As a result, fuel is saved and the emissions of CO2 are reduced. In some areas, the noise can also be reduced, if required. For Munich passenger airport, the application of this flight procedure has been announced.
The Airbus A320neo, currently the most efficient and quietest short- and medium-haul aircraft also serves Munich Airport. It features the latest generation of engines, reducing fuel consumption by 15 percent, and therefore also reduces both carbon dioxide emissions and noise levels. The Airbus A350-900 is one of the most modern and environmentally-friendly long-haul aircraft in the world. Compared to its predecessor, the A340, it creates significantly lower noise levels: up to 7 dB(A) less on start-up and up to 3 dB(A) less on landing. In contrast to an A340, the A350-900’s noise contour is around 40 to 50 percent smaller and its noise level does not exceed 85 dB(A) outside the airport premises. This results in lower aircraft noise pollution in the airport region. Thanks to its cutting-edge engines and special design, the A350-900 consumes 50 percent less kerosene overall and thus emits 50 percent less CO2. Lufthansa bases fifteen long-haul aircraft of type A350-900 at its Munich hub.
Munich Airport can influence the type of aircraft used by ensuring its landing charges depend on noise levels. Airlines using quiet aircraft benefit from a charges system based on a broad sliding scale. Noise-based take-off and landing charges may be as much as eight times higher for a loud aircraft type than a quiet one.
Using 16 fixed measurement points, FMG continuously monitors aircraft noise within a radius of about 20 kilometers around Munich Airport. It also performs mobile measurements as a voluntary service for municipalities that are not covered in the stationary measurement network. In 2018, eight mobile aircraft noise measuring systems recorded values on a total of 306 days, including – for the first time – in Berg, Kranzberg and Ast, Tiefenbach. Mobile measurements have already been performed on multiple occasions in Velden, Krüglau, Wurmsham, Sünzhausen, Zieglberg, and Rudelzhofen. There are plans in place to procure new mobile measurement stations in the future, which will be equipped to take their power supply from environmentally friendly solar panels.
Current aircraft movements can be retrieved via the FMG website with just a few minutes of a delay. Aircraft type, airline, starting point or destination, elevation, speed, as well as the angle of ascent or descent are displayed there. A mark can be placed at any point on the map in order to see the elevation at which an aircraft passes over or what its lateral distance to the arrival or departure baseline is. The data from the aircraft noise measuring stations is also available at the click of a mouse.