Aircraft noise is the most significant cause of adverse community reaction related to the operation and expansion of airports. This is expected to remain the case in most regions of the world for the foreseeable future. Limiting or reducing the number of people affected by significant aircraft noise is therefore one of ICAO's main priorities and one of the Organization's key environmental goals.
The main overarching ICAO policy on aircraft noise is the Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise Management, adopted by the ICAO Assembly in its 33rd Session (2001) and reaffirmed in all the subsequent Assembly Sessions (reference: ICAO Resolution A39-1 Appendix C). Detailed guidance on the application of the Balanced Approach is provided in the ICAO Doc 9829, Guidance on the Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise Management.
The Balanced Approach consists of identifying the noise problem at a specific airport and analyzing various measures available to reduce noise through the exploration of various measures which can be classified into four principal elements, described in Figure 1. The goal is to address noise problems on an individual airport basis and to identify the noise-related measures that achieve maximum environmental benefit most cost-effectively using objective and measurable criteria.
Continuous work is being conducted by ICAO to ensure the currency of the technical basis underpinning the ICAO Standards, guidance and policies associated with reducing aircraft noise. This work includes, among several topics, investigations into emerging noise reduction technologies, noise impacts from new aircraft concepts (e.g. Unmanned Air Vehicles), and the development of SARPs for future supersonic aeroplanes. ICAO is also working on the environmental aspects of airport land-use planning, and good practices on airport community engagement.
As part of the ICAO Global Environmental Trends, ICAO has been assessing trends in global exposure to aircraft noise which provide a basis for sound discussion and decision-making on aircraft noise policies. Additionally, noise technology goals have been developed, with the purpose of providing stretch yet reasonable targets for industry R&D to aim at, in cooperation with States. More details on these ICAO initiatives on aircraft noise are provided in the following pages:
Noise Reduction Technologies
Community engagement for aviation environmental management
Supersonic Aircraft Noise Standards Development
CAEP WG1 Work
New aircraft concepts (Remotely piloted aircraft, urban air mobility, drones)