British Airways have agreed to modify their older Airbus A320 planes in their fleet to reduce the noise on final approach to Gatwick.
By introducing small underwing air flow deflectors under the wing of these aircraft, a “whistling” sound which can be sometimes heard can be prevented. The whining noise on the older Airbus A320 planes is caused by the vents for the fuel tanks. Air flowing over them have an effect like blowing across the mouth of a bottle
Tunbridge Wells MP, Greg Clark has been pressing the Chief Executive of British Airways, Keith Williams, to take action:
Aircraft noise is of great concern to many local residents that live beneath the Gatwick flightpath so this is a really big step forward. Older Airbus A320 planes make a particular high pitched whining noise and the problem can easily be sorted out by retrofitting the planes with a simple piece of kit. Unfortunately up until now all British airline operators have refused to do so.
I must commend British Airways for taking action on this and I hope that other operators such as easyJet will now follow suit. I will be meeting with the Chief Executive of easyJet soon to press her to do so.
Airline operators have a responsibility to local communities to do everything that they can to reduce noise levels and they need to start taking this responsibility more seriously. British Airways have set an example – there is no longer any excuse for other airlines like easyJet to make people suffer unnecessarily.
British Airways have 130 older Airbus A320 planes which will start to be modified from October 2015.
British Airways’ Head of Environment, Jonathon Counsell said:
As part of our sustainability strategy we are always looking for new ways to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on our local communities, and we are delighted to be able to make these changes.
Two operators from other countries – Lufthansa and Air France – are already underway with retrofitting their fleet.