Operating Restrictions

Noise concerns have led some States to consider banning the operation of certain noisy aircraft at noise-sensitive airports. In the 1980s, the focus was on Non-Noise Certificated (NNC) aircraft; in the 1990s, it moved to Chapter 2 aircraft; today, it has moved to the noisiest Chapter 3 aircraft. However, operating restrictions of this kind can have significant economic implications for the airlines concerned, both those based in the States taking action and those based in other States that operate to and from the affected airports. On each occasion, the ICAO Assembly succeeded in reaching an agreement – contained in an Assembly resolution – that represented a careful balance between the interests of developing and developed States and took into account the concerns of the airline industry, airports and environmental interests.

The phase-out of NNC and Chapter 2 aircraft has already taken place in many ICAO contracting states. In the case of Chapter 3 aircraft, the ICAO Assembly in 2001 urged States not to introduce any operating restrictions at any airport on Chapter 3 aircraft before fully assessing available measures to address the noise problem at the airport concerned in accordance with the balanced approach. The Assembly also listed a number of safeguards that would need to be met if restrictions are imposed on Chapter 3 aircraft. For example, restrictions should be based on the noise performance of the aircraft and should be tailored to the noise problem of the airport concerned, and the special circumstances of operators from developing countries should be taken into account. This scheme has been ratified at the  41st Session of the Assembly (Appendixes D and E of Assembly Resolution A41-20 ).


Apart from phase-out, other possible operational restrictions include curfews, night time restrictions, noise quotas/budgets, cap rules, non-addition rules, and restrictions related to the nature of flight. These are described in detail in Chapter 7 of the ICAO Doc 9829 Guidance On The Balanced Approach To Aircraft Noise Management.

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