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Noise protection

Noise protection is comprehensively regulated

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. 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. But the airport operator can also help to regulate this area. Loud aircraft without certificates to ICAO Annex 16 are not allowed to take off from or land at Munich Airport. And the regulations at night are even stricter: The night-flight curfew at Munich Airport includes a noise quota, which is based on aircraft types and sizes, and the number of aircraft movements. During 2019, only 71 percent of the permissible noise volume was used at Munich Airport. The mean nighttime continuous sound level at the sanctuary border did not exceed the permitted value of 50 dB (A) in 2019.

Group management report Aviation unit

«Fluglärm und Fluglärmschutz» (Aircraft noise and aircraft noise control) brochure

Noise reduction measures provide relief for residents

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.

Engines running idle during final approach

Continuous Descent Operations (also known as Continuous Descent Approach, CDA) refer to 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. This method saves fuel and reduces CO2 emissions. In some areas, the noise can also be reduced, if required. Numerous airlines apply this procedure at Munich Airport.

Continuous descent approach

New engine architecture halves noise levels

The A320neo – the quietest and most efficient aircraft serving short and medium-haul routes at present – also serves Munich Airport; Deutsche Lufthansa currently has six of these machines stationed in Munich. The A320neo features the latest generation of engines, which allow a reduction in fuel consumption of 15 percent, and at the same time a reduction in both carbon dioxide emissions and noise levels. The Airbus A350-900 is the most 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 the A340 series, the A350-900 series 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 lightweight materials, as well as curved wing tips, the A350-900 series 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.

Comparison of noise contours for the Airbus A340-600 and A350-900

Comparison of the noise contours of the Airbus A340-600 and A350-900 aircraft types

Landing charges: quiet equals cheap

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.

Facts and figures

The impact of aircraft noise

While aircraft noise at large airports typically impacts a large number of people directly, the number is relatively low in the case of Munich, being around seven percent of the number of people impacted to the same extent in Frankfurt. This is not to say that aircraft noise is of no consequence for Munich Airport, rather more so that a particularly favorable location was chosen for the airport.

Impact of aircraft noise

Number of people

Number of persons affected by noise above 55dB(A) over a 24 hour period (Day Evening Night Sound Level): Environmental Noise Directive
Source: German Federal Environment Agency

Close monitoring of aircraft noise

From 16 fixed measuring 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 by the stationary measurement network. In 2019, nine mobile aircraft noise measuring systems recorded values on a total of 307 days, including – for the first time – in Dorfacker in the district of Kranzberg, in Walpertskirchen, and in Berghofen in the district of Eching. Repeat mobile measurements have already been taken in Forstinning, Haimhausen, Poing, Kranzberg, Garching, and Moosburg-Bonau.

Locations of fixed noise measuring points of Flughafen München GmbH

Locations of Flughafen München GmbH's fixed noise measurement stations

Brief interview

Measuring noise with solar power

Dr. Felix Will in a black jacket with a white shirt smiles friendly directly into the camera
Dr. Felix Will Head of Noise and Noise Protection

Mr. Will, why is the airport now using solar power to measure noise at the airport?

Our new mobile measuring system helps us to measure aircraft noise in the vicinity of the airport even more effectively and now at practically any location. Thanks to the use of solar power and fuel cells, the system operates independently of the local electricity supply and thus also fits in with the airport’s overall carbon strategy.

How often has the system been used to date?

Since it was introduced in 2019, the system has been used at four different locations. In specific terms, it was used over several weeks to record aircraft noise in Haimhausen, Poing, Kranzberg, and Berghofen.

Continuous sound level Leq3
Underlying evaluation measurement for the new German Air Traffic Noise Act. It is a measure of the sound energy at the point of observation and is also referred to as the energy-equivalent continuous sound level. Leq3 is measured over 16 hours during the day, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. (daytime Leq3), and 8 hours during the night, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. (night-time Leq3). The six busiest months of the year are taken as the reference baseline.
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
Headquartered in Montreal, the International Civil Aviation Organization is an agency of the United Nations. It has a total of 193 contracting states. The goal of the ICAO and its members is to ensure the safe and sustainable development of civil aviation.

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