Minimizing the impact of aircraft noise has been a long-term priority for Atlas Air Worldwide. Similar to how we work to reduce aircraft emissions, we address potential aircraft noise reductions through a combination of advancements in technology and ongoing refinements in our operations.
Atlas subscribes to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s Balanced Approach for addressing aircraft noise. This approach assumes that each situation is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It identifies four strategies for addressing this issue:
The Balanced Approach was codified by ICAO in 2001, and aircraft noise standards have been updated several times since then, most recently in 2018. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have authority to monitor and regulate aircraft engine noise. We believe that all aircraft in our fleet materially comply with current DOT, FAA and international noise standards.
In addition, ongoing investment in new aircraft, most notably Boeing 747-8F and Boeing 777 planes, is one of the most significant ways for Atlas to continue to reduce aircraft noise. We currently have 10 747-8Fs and 14 Boeing 777s, both models with advanced engines that are approximately 30% less noisy than engines in the previous generation of aircraft.
From an operations standpoint, we complete more frequent engine washes and other ongoing routine maintenance to help reduce in-flight, takeoff and landing aircraft noise. In a few cases, we have voluntarily adjusted flight schedules to address potential concerns from community leaders in densely populated residential areas. We believe operating restrictions, which can negatively impact the airline industry, customers and local economies, are a last resort – other means should be sufficient to effectively address noise concerns.