Aircraft noise

Air noise is created by aircraft approaching or taking off from airports and by aircraft taxiing/manoeuvring around the airfield.

This noise is caused by two main factors:

  • By air moving over the aircraft’s fuselage (body) and wings – collectively known as the airframe
  • By the aircraft engines themselves.

When air moves over the aircraft fuselage, it causes friction and turbulence, which creates noise. The amount of noise created varies according to aircraft size and type as well as the way the aircraft is flown such as speed, the angle of approach and the way in which wing flaps are deployed. This means noise can differ, even for identical aircraft.

Engine noise is created by the sound of the engine’s moving parts and by the sound of the air being expelled at high speed once it has passed through the engine or propellers.

Noise is a very subjective issue and each person reacts differently to it. A noise which one person is affected by may not necessarily affect the next person. The time, the location and circumstances of any noise heard can all produce different reactions. Attitudes and reactions to noise are as important as the noise level experienced, but these attitudes are less understood than the technical science of sound-generation and measurement.

Small yellow propeller plane taking off on runwaySouthampton Airport has a dedicated Noise and Flight Evaluation Unit which records and investigates complaints and enquiries received from the local community about noise and routeings. The unit is manned during office hours by specially trained staff that can answer any questions and provide information on noise initiatives.

A key part of our noise strategy is to give out as much information as possible and to provide our neighbours and stakeholders with an insight into what is going on at Southampton International Airport. The following pages have been designed to provide information on aircraft noise and the mitigation measures in place to lessen the impact on our neighbours.