Reduce decibel level at airports: Aviation experts

Aviation experts suggested that airport regulator AERA should insist on measures by airport operators to reduce the decibel levels to tolerable limits.

New Delhi: With growing protests over
noise pollution caused by flights, aviation experts today
suggested that airport regulator AERA should insist on
measures by airport operators to reduce the decibel levels to
tolerable limits.

"The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA)
should see that airport operators insulate noise emanating
from airports", Ajay Kumar, an aviation specialist of the US
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), said here.

He said the American government enacted large number
of legislative controls to check noise pollution since 1960s.

The laws ensured that while better operating procedures were
in place, a whole range of aviation activities carried out by
aircraft designers, plane and engine manufacturers and
operators adhere to rules to reduce decibel levels.

Addressing a workshop on aviation environment and
noise pollution organised by the Aeronautical Society of
India, Kumar and other experts spoke about regulations put in
place by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and
measures undertaken by airport and airline operators.

Civil Aviation Secretary Nasim Zaidi listed out the
steps taken by aviation regulator DGCA to mitigate sound
pollution in and around airports.

Eurocopter specialist Francois Toulmay introduced the
company`s noise reduction systems and briefed the meet on the
work going on to develop a `Green Rotorcraft` platform.

The issue assumes significance as residents of some
South Delhi localities, Jawaharlal Nehru University and some
hospitals moved court seeking steps to check noise from
aircraft landing at and taking off from the IGI Airport here.

These localities and institutions fall on the flight path.
Pending notification of permissible noise levels at
airports by the Central Pollution Control Board, the DGCA
earlier this year fixed the limits in airport zones at 105
decibels during day and 95 decibels at night.

These limits are lower than those at most major
international airports, including New York`s JFK (99
decibels), Rio de Janeiro (118.4), Paris (104.5) and Osaka
(107). Three airports in London have 94 decibels as the limit.

Some other major airports, like Chicago, Kuala Lumpur, Hong
Kong and Melbourne, have no noise limit.

To distribute the nuisance of approaching aircraft
noise evenly for residents, Airports Authority of India has
also started rotational operations on two runways at the IGI
airport. Each runway is alternately used for 8-hour duration
for landings while at night, the time comes down to 4 hours.

DGCA has also banned planes operated by noisy engines
like turbojet from operating at nights at the IGI Airport.

However, airline representatives pointed out that the new-
generation aircraft were about 75 per cent quieter than those
built 40 years ago. They said the turbofan engines emitted
much less noise than turbojets.

For people living near airports, the cumulative impact
of a large number of flights has started impacting them,
causing not only sleeplessness and stress but also impaired
hearing and inability to concentrate, they pointed out.

Speakers at the workshop referred to these measures
which have already been initiated to curb noise pollution at
the airport here.

Indicating significant increase in flight movements in
Delhi, the airport here handles over 34 million passengers a
year and projects an increase to upwards of 180 million
travellers annually by 2020.


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