Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]




Airlines spent nearly $150,000,000 for noise suppressors for the early turbojet engines. The loss of operating efficiency resulting from these suppressors cost about $10,000 per plane every year. Millions more were spent converting some of these aircraft to turbofan engines, which were even quieter. Recent advances in engine technology have developed even quieter, more powerful high by-pass ratio engines that power the large wide-body jet aircraft. Newer verions of the Boeing 727 and 737 now incorporate engine nacelle sound absorbing materials.

To reduce noise annoyance, preferential runways are used wherever possible so that takeoffs and landings over heavily populated areas are minimized; in the air preferential routings are used after takeoff, or on approach, to avoid overflights of heavily populated areas, where possible.

A nationwide standardized noise abatement takeoff technique is used to reduce the noise annoyance to the smallest possible area in the vicinity of airports; a standardized noise abatement approach procedure is employed, using reduced flap settings, thereby using less engine thrust to reduce noise under the flight path on landing.

Two-segment approach procedures are being evaluated from the technical and safety standpoints. If acceptable, such procedures will reduce noise annoyance on the approach path.

The airlines have underwritten the cost of runway realignments and extensions, as well as purchase of residential areas for the establishment of clear zones, as at Los Angeles International, John F. Kennedy and other major airports.


The last piston airplane operated by the airlines emitted approximately nine pounds of pollutants per passenger per airport operation. This was reduced to four pounds per passenger during early jet operations and about 2.5 pounds per passenger from the jets operated in the middle and late 1960s. With the advent of the wide-body jets such as the 747, DC-10 and L-1011 this has been reduced to about one pound per passenger per airport operation.

New aircraft such as the Boeing 747, DC-10 and Lockheed L-1011 are being delivered with virtually smoke-free engines. Newly manufactured Boeing 727's, DC-9's, and Boeing 737's also are equipped with virtually smoke-free engines. Of these last three aircraft types, powered by the Pratt and Whitney JT8D engines, a massive airline engine retrofit program is about completed. It has converted the earlier smoky combusters to virtually smoke-free combusters. This retrofit project, undertaken at airline expense, has cost well over $15,000,000 to date. Airlines have agreed to install smoke-free combusters on older aircraft, such as the Boeing 707 and DC-8, when economically justified and operationally approved combusters are developed by the manufacturers.


Military jet engines vented small amounts of fuel from the engine manifold each time the engine was shut down, or started. This fuel was expelled on the ramp. When airlines started jet operations, this excess fuel was collected in reservoirs and expelled into the atmosphere after each takeoff. Fuel drain lines on commercial transport aircraft are now "plugged", and the excess consumed in the engines on start-up.


Airwork and low approaches are performed in simulators as much as possible. In a year's time roughly 80,000 landings and 80,000 takeoffs by training flights are avoided by using simulators, thus reducing emissions around airports by 8 million pounds. The use of simulators also reduces noise around the airports.

Remote, low activity airports are used for actual takeoff and landing train

ing, thus relieving high activity commercial airports of these operations. This provides relief from emissions and noise in heavily impacted urban areas around major airports.


Taxi-in on less than all engines is performed by many carriers under many circumstances. All carriers have indicated a willingness to do where consistent with dictates of safety. Emissions on the ground (which amount to about 90% of all aircraft emissions) are reduced.

To further reduce ground emissions, all carriers have indicated a willingness to develop emission control strategy to reduce emissions when on-airport delays are encountered. This envisions shutting down some engines in the delay queue, or holding at gates and delaying engine starts, whichever is appropriate for the particular airport.


Although these agreements were initiated in order to reduce excess capacity, it is estimated that capacity agreement limitations in four transcontinental markets and in the New York/San Juan market result in a reduction of 3 million pounds of emissions annually-and a concomitant reduction in noise.


Most airline maintenance plants perform fabricating operations from the very simple to the complex. Refurbishing parts involve plating operations, acid baths and other procedures, such as grinding, sandblasting, machining, painting, etc. In all of these operations protection of personnel requires strict discipline to avoid fumes and inhalation of particles; where water is used for dilution or trapping, recycle systems are installed to separate and purify the enclosed water system.


Engine test cells are soundproofed to keep the outside ambient noise levels down to normal residential levels at the property line.


Airlines are experimenting with liquid petroleum gas as fuel on some of their trucks and maintenance vehicles to reduie automotive pollution. One airline has substituted battery operated vehicles within their maintenance shop to prevent in-building emissions. Other companies are experimenting with battery operated baggage carts at lower activity stations to gain experience with this type of vehicle.


At most major airports airlines have invested in hydrant refueling systems, thus eliminating the need for tanker truck refueling on the ramps.


Disposable food containers in flight kitchens are separated and returned for recycling. Aluminum meal containers used on aircraft are separated and returned for recycling, as well. A steadily increasing number of airlines now use recycled paper for intracompany correspondence.


Ramp drains, maintenance area, and shop drains are "trapped" to permit removal of grease, hydraulic fluid and fuels. These traps are periodically serviced as part of the plant maintenance routine.


Fuel, varsol, solvents, lubricants and other bulk liquid tanks are surveyed periodically to forestall leakage and waste. Control procedures have been adopted to prevent spillage. Contractor services are monitored to insure clean handling.


Wash water tanks and aircraft toilet waste tanks are emptied and purged at regular stops by special tank trucks. This waste is disposed of through the airport sewer system. Old oil, degreasing fluids, and similar substances are collected by contract haulers for disposal in authorized land fills.


When concern was raised about non-biodegradable wash materials reaching public water supplies, airlines shifted aircraft washing materials to biodegradable substances. Some airlines have eliminated them altogether, using dry wash materials that can be swept up and disposed of in land fill.


Airlines contract for haulage of trash to sanitary landfills. Incineration is not practiced.


The air transport industry of the United States, which provides a vital and beneficial service to the public, recognizes that the safeguarding of the environment is an essential criterion of public service. The industry's record in this regard is long, and it is good. We intend to remain in the forefront of efforts to improve the quality of life for all our citizens.

Airliners, more than any other form of transportation, live in the environment; the air gives them lift, and they operate with greatest efficiency when this air is clear and unpolluted. In addition to this desire for clean air, airline management has demonstrated continuing concern about aircraft noise. More than 20 years ago, the airlines were organizing noise abatement councils and initiating operational procedures to reduce noise at airports.

When jet transport aircraft came into service the airlines equipped the new engines with expensive new technology noise suppressors at a cost of $150 million; three years after the jets were introduced production was shifted to quieter fan-jet engines, and many jet aircraft were retroffited; new noise abatement procedures, including the use of preferential runways, were expanded; new runway/taxiway layouts were installed-all of these at great operating expense to the airlines. These and other actions taken by the airlines to improve the environment are detailed in the Appendix.

The airlines are continuing to give priority attention to the technical effort to develop quieter engines by increasing by-pass ratio and applying acoustical materials. This initiative has borne fruit in the engines which power the wide body jets. Technology which may permit the development of practical modification of other jet engines is being developed.

Similar airline actions have greatly reduced engine emissions, both visible and invisible. The jet age has reduced invisible emissions to small proportions, and major technical efforts are underway toward even further reductions, difficult though the task may be. Visible smoke trails are being eliminated as quickly as the availability of approved hardware permits.

The search for and implementation of additional noise abatement and airport waste control operational procedures is continuing on an urgent basis.


It is the intent of the airlines to continue to take prudent and practical steps to alleviate unreasonable environmental intrusions caused by their operations. These additional steps will be taken as rapidly as the availability of practical hardware and financial resources will permit-subject, always to safety of operations and required service to the public.

The steps to be taken must be meaningful. Because resources are scarce, any changes must be more than simply cosmetic. To yield significant benefit, these changes must also be coordinated. Uniformity of application must be given high priority. The large number of airports served-more than 525 in the United States-the high speed and complexity of aircraft flown, and the high

1 Adopted by the ATA Board of Directors, March 28, 1973.

skill and professional performance required of the people operating the aircraft, all require that the standards for regulations and operations be uniform throughout the air transport system to the maximum extent possible. The Federal Aviation Administration, with the assistance of the Environmental Protection Agency, is responsible for establishing these standards throughout the nation. Although there may be differences of view on some specifics from time to time, the airlines applaud and support the efforts of these Federal agencies to further progress toward a cleaner, quieter environment.


The airlines recognize that aircraft noise represents a major environmental challenge. The industry is thoroughly committed to progress in noise alleviation-through improved operational procedures, through fleet modernization, and even through the quieting of the existing fleet-when such measures are in the public interest. At the same time it must be recognized that compatible land use programs in the vicinity of airports are essential if improvements in aircraft technology and operation are not to be wasted.

It is vital to effective noise alleviation programs that all airplanes of any given type be operated under uniform takeoff and landing procedures. Additional techniques for procedural noise abatement to reduce further the public's total noise exposure are being actively explored. Due to the safety considerations involved in changeover to new flight procedures, it is essential that the adoption of such procedures be implemented on an orderly basis, as suitable flight guidance devices become available. Research and development is underway in FAA and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to develop and flight test such devices.

The new generation of wide-bodied aircraft, powered by high-bypass-ratio fanjet engines, operate well within established aircraft noise guidelines and are a significant advance toward a quieter environment. The U.S. airlines have invested in or are committed to buy $6 billion worth of these new technology airplanes.

New aircraft types introduced into the airline inventory will incorporate the latest state of the art in noise alleviation. This commitment must be implemented on a phased basis that does not compromise safety in either operations or maintenance.

New models of existing type aircraft will comply with currently recognized and practically achievable Federal noise limits.

Existing fleet aircraft will be modified to comply with currently recognized and achievable noise limits as proven hardware that is noise effective and cost effective becomes available and as financial realities permit. Clearly, the cost of such modifications is substantially beyond the economic capability of the airline industry. Therefore major hardware changes of this scope can be accomplished only with some form of public funding.


Because the air transport system inherently is interstate in character, Federal noise standards are essential to noise alleviation planning. In establishing these standards, however, the U.S. government must not handicap U.S. international carriers by discriminating requirements not applicable to foreign carriers.

Providing the highest degree of safety and assuring adequacy of air service is dependent upon a uniform application of noise standards and noise alleviation methods rather than varying and inconsistent local requirements. Federal preemption of noise alleviation requirements is essential.


The turbine engine, although not the quietest powerplant, is by far the cleanest used in large scale public transportation. The combined contribution of all airline operations constitutes about one percent of the total emissions in the United States. Schedule airline aircraft are virtually 100 percent turbine powered, and the industry will continue to welcome any sound prospect for making an outstandingly good product even better.

Engines powering the wide-bodied aircraft are virtually smoke-free and the airlines are now completing a modification to the JT8D engine to virtually

« PreviousContinue »