Birmingham Airport launches a quieter approach to the Airport‏ at 2008 Pathfinder awards

John Morris, Head of Corporate and Community Affairs, Birmingham Airport
and Caroline Spelman MP celebrate with the winners
Caroline Spelman, Conservative MP for Meriden, has helped
Birmingham International Airport and NATS launch a new
scheme - Continual Decent Approaches - to further reduce the
noise of aircraft operations
The basic principle of a Continual Decent Approach (CDA) is that
arriving aircraft stay higher for longer, by descending at a
continuous rate. This technique uses significantly less engine thrust
which makes life quieter for communities around the airport. Less
thrust means less fuel burn – and that’s good news for the
environment too, as it also means fewer carbon emissions
Continual Decent Approaches (CDAs), will be introduced at
Birmingham from May, following the successful completion of
a trial, driven by NATS. Throughout the trial, the Air Traffic
Controllers at NATS have worked with airlines to change the
way that arriving aircraft approach the airport. Their hard work
has already led to an improvement in CDAs from 50% to 90%
Caroline Spelman launched this new initiative at the annual
"Operation Pathfinder" Awards at the Airport, which are now in
their third year. The awards were inspired by Mrs Spelman,
following her regular meetings with the Airport on behalf of her
The awards encourage a more open dialogue between the Airport
and its airlines, ensuring that everyone has a part to play in
maintaining defined routes, and reducing nuisance to neighbours.
Regular ‘Operation Pathfinder’ meetings take place, with more
airlines having joined the scheme in the last year. This year’s
awards were presented to Swiss International Airlines, Ryanair,
Monarch Airlines and Brussels Airlines
Caroline Spelman said: “It is great to be at the Airport for two
celebrations today. This third anniversary of Operation Pathfinder
is testament to the hard work that the Airport’s Environment Team
and the airlines have undertaken to ensure that residents are not
subjected to unnecessary noise from low flying aircraft. Over the
three years, it has been encouraging to see that airlines realise the
impact that their aircraft can have over populated areas, and they
are keen to improve. I would like to congratulate the airlines,
NATS and the Airport for their continued work on this project and
the successful partnership that they have developed through
Operation Pathfinder
"Additionally, the implementation of Continual Decent Approach
means that residents will be subjected to less noise from arriving
aircraft which is good news for everyone and something that I am
pleased Birmingham Airport has launched as an initiative, as it
demonstrates the company’s commitment to its environmental
John Morris, Head of Corporate and Community Affairs for the
Airport, said: "As many residents are aware, the Airport constantly
strives to be a good neighbour and we often can’t achieve our goals
alone. We are delighted that so many airlines have continued to
take part in the Operation Pathfinder initiative and with the on
track results improving since last year, from 97.79% to 98.37% this
year, it shows how Birmingham Airport is aware of its close
connections with the community, and in working with the airlines
we hope that this can continue"
"It is not generally known that the ‘footprint’ for noise disturbance
at Birmingham has been reduced by about three quarters over the
last twenty years or so, and that far fewer people are affected by
us than used to be the case"
BIA’s noise and track-keeping monitoring system, ANOMS 8, has
provided the Airport Company with the information for these
awards to take place. ANOMS 8 is an aircraft track-keeping and
noise monitoring system to assist in noise exceedences, off-track
departures, as well as providing detailed maps and sound recordings.
It also offers an advanced database to help the Airport’s
Environment Team monitor and investigate community enquiries,
thus enhancing the Airport’s ability to communicate more
effectively with its neighbours
The awards for best practise track-keeping in 2008 -
· Swiss International Air Lines: Special Award – improved from 84.1% to 95.4%
· Ryanair: Best track-keeping in category (>200 ATMs)
· Monarch Airlines: Best track-keeping in category (>100 ATMs)
· Brussels Airlines: Best track-keeping in category (>50 ATMs)
The following airlines were given awards for participating
in the Operation Pathfinder meetings and providing
invaluable feedback:
Flybe, bmibaby, Thomsonfly, Thomas Cook Airlines

The following airlines were given certificates for achieving
a 95% target of "on-track" departures in 2008:
Ryanair, Aer Lingus, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, bmibaby,
Monarch Airlines, Thomsonfly, Emirates, Eastern Airways,
Brussels Airlines, Thomas Cook, Lufthansa, Flybe, Air Malta,
City Airline, Air India, Continental Airlines,
Swiss International Air Lines, Brit Air, Loganair
Monday 11 May 2009


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