Aircraft Noise Concerns
If you have a concern about aircraft noise, you can record details via our dedicated noise hotline:
+44 (0)2890 935020
Or alternatively, you can register your concern via our 'Contact Us' section.
Aircraft Noise Management
Since we began commercial operations in 1983, we have sought to minimise the impact of aircraft noise on our local community. Our approach includes measures which meet the requirements of our Planning Agreement. The following summarises these requirements:
- Flights may only be scheduled to operate between 06:30 hours and 21:30 hours. Extensions may be granted in exceptional circumstances to facilitate delayed aircraft up to 23:59 hours.
- No more than 48,000 aircraft movements in any 12 month period.
- Maintain a bias in favour of approaches/climb outs over Belfast Lough (because aircraft are required to take off and land by flying into the wind, the direction of flights will depend on the prevailing wind conditions).
- Only accept jet aircraft that are at least Chapter 3 certified (‘Chapter 3’ refers to the noise standard laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO))
- Produce noise contours annually to report the extent of noise impacting upon the local community and demonstrate compliance with set limits. These reports are lodged with the relevant government departments and members of the Airport Forum for scrutiny purposes.
- Operate a noise and track monitoring system to record aircraft noise data and track flight paths for the ongoing assessment of the impact of aircraft noise on the community.
- Implement Continuous Descent Approaches (CDA) where possible (minimising aircraft noise during descent).
- Apply a noise limit on departing aircraft.
- Implement measures to reduce ground noise including ensuring availability of fixed electrical ground power (FEGP) to provide silent power for aircraft on stand.
Further details can be found on the Department for Infrastructure’s website
We monitor and record data in relation to these requirements including the number of aircraft movements, flights after 21:30 hours and the number of flights over Belfast Lough and publish this information quarterly.
Other Noise Management Measures
We have in place a penalty system on all flights arriving into or departing from the Airport after 21:30 hours or exceeding departure noise limits. Monies are placed into the Community Fund which is used to support a variety of worthwhile community projects in the Belfast area.
We apply formal noise abatement procedures for both arriving and departing aircraft to minimise noise disturbance on the surrounding community while ensuring the safe and efficient management of air traffic at the airport. In summary –
- Aircraft departing over Belfast Lough must make a left turn at 500 feet to take the aircraft over water then may only turn south over the North Down coastline on reaching certain altitudes (1,500 feet for turboprop aircraft less than 13,000kg, 2,000 feet for turboprop aircraft greater than 13,000kg and 3,000 feet for jet aircraft).
- Aircraft departing over the City must maintain a straight course until reaching the altitudes set out above after which they may execute a turn.
- Aircraft arriving over Belfast Lough are to cross the North Down coast at an altitude not below 2,500 feet before establishing on the final approach track five nautical miles from the runway threshold
- Aircraft arriving over Belfast City are to establish on the final approach track no later than five nautical miles from the threshold at an altitude of not below 1,500 feet
- All arriving aircraft are to descend to the runway threshold at an angle of 3 degrees.
Noise Action Plan
GBBCA has a draft Noise Action Plan in place (awaiting approval by DAERA) covering the period 2019-24 in line with the requirements of the Environmental Noise Regulations.
This plan summarises the extent of aircraft noise in the Belfast Agglomeration, those measures already in place at the airport to prevent and reduce aircraft noise, and actions proposed over the five years of the plan.
The draft plan can be viewed here Environmental Noise Directive Draft Noise Action Plan 2019-2024.
Since 2019, we have produced an Annual Performance Report setting out GBBCA’s performance and compliance against the requirements of our Planning Agreement.
The 2019 report can be viewed here.
The 2020 report can be viewed here.
The 2021 report can be viewed here.
The 2022 report can be viewed here.