Prague Airport to cut night noise

The airport wants to reduce traffic and have quieter plans at night

The area around Václav Havel Airport Prague should get quieter. In view of the current increase in air traffic in the Czech Republic and in Europe, Prague Airport, the company that operates the airport, will introduce more preventive measures to maintain a low level of night noise in the Prague districts and municipalities in the immediate vicinity of the airport.

The measure is aimed at reducing the total number of night takeoffs and landings between 10 pm and 6 am, and to better regulate traffic in that time frame, including delayed arrivals and departures.

Prague Airport will work in particular with airlines and the relevant authorities and state institutions, such as the Office for Civil Aviation, Czech Air Traffic Control and the Ministry of Transport. Some more measures could come into force this year, with others starting in the summer season 2019.

“Air traffic over the whole of Europe, including Prague Airport, continues to grow, and it is our duty to respond adequately to this increase in operating load. That is why we have decided to gradually adopt measures that will help us ensure long-term effective night-time noise regulation,” Václav Řehoř, chairman of the Prague Airport board of directors, said in a press release.

“We have already started to discuss a set of specific short and medium-term regulatory steps with key government bodies and airlines, and then we will meet with representatives of surrounding communities,” he added.

Jan Klas, general manager of Air Traffic Control of the Czech Republic, said the problem was not unique to Prague.

“We see solving the high noise burden that comes from stronger air traffic over Europe as one of the key priorities. For the future, therefore, we will work together with Prague Airport to provide operational and technical measures to avoid a higher noise load. One of these steps will be to minimize negative impacts from pan-European air traffic flow regulation,” Klas said.

New technology, as well as a tougher stance toward violations, are part of the answer, Vítězslav Hezký of the Civil Aviation Authority said.

"We will support the future steps of Prague Airport in maintaining the level of the noise load. One such step may be stricter penalties and enforcement of airport slot violations, as well as continued support for the use of quieter aircraft,” Hezký said. Slot violations refer to planes missing their assigned take off or landing times.

Prague Airport’s Řehoř said he appreciated the good relationships with surrounding communities. “I feel compelled to listen to their demands. We, therefore, approach the decision to take the new measures as a responsible neighbor with regard to the quality of life and health of the inhabitants around the airport. We are convinced that a responsible attitude toward the surrounding communities is an integral part of our current and future functioning,” Řehoř said.

Prague Airport started more stringent regulation of night traffic in the spring of this year, when a new price list of noise charges came into force. The airport significantly increased the charges for take-offs and landings made by the noisier types of aircraft at night.

The measure already encourages air carriers to deploy quieter aircraft, especially at night, or to move such flights fully into daylight hours.

The airport has also been running a contest since 2006 to recognize the quietest air carrier.

Changes related to the regulation of night traffic are important steps toward implementing a sustainable business strategy that is part of the long-term development of Prague Airport.

The airport is looking to increase passenger numbers. In the long term, another runway is planned.

The airport handled a total of 7,463,975 passengers in the first half of 2018, a 10 percent increase over the same period last year, and looks set to break last year's annual record of clearing 15,415,001 passengers. That was an increase of 17.9 percent compared to 2016.

The airport recently opened new check-in facilities that will help increase the capacity of Terminal 2, which handles flights within the Schengen Zone.

Václav Havel Airport Prague opened April 5, 1937, as Prague Ruzyně Airport. Right after former president Václav Havel's death on Dec. 18, 2011, an online petition asked the government to rename it to Václav Havel International Airport. This name change took place Oct. 5, 2012, on what would have been Havel's 76th birthday.

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