Quiet Air Transport



EREA is willing to foster a new impetus on research about air transport noise. A new initiative has been prepared to this end. In particular EREA considers that the focus should be shifted from technology to i) an impact assessment for the newly developed technologies, and ii) a more thorough understanding of the noise generation and propagation processes to enable smart noise abatement actions. This opinion arises from the observation that, although high-TRL technology has been and will continue to be driven by numerous integrated programmes, it is not able to deliver alone the expected achievements when considering communities. This also stems from the fact that, low-TRL solutions have been widely exploited within large integrated programmes in recent years. Now, the time has thus come to favour again novel ideas and concepts focused on monitoring and controlling impact and a better understanding of cause and effect.

Therefore, it is required to prepare a programme that will push forward research on thorough understanding of air transport noise and innovative low-TRL enabling technologies on the one hand, and impact and perception on the other hand. But above all, a global assessment of the past and ongoing effort on air transport noise must be carried out. Accordingly, this assessment has to be community-oriented rather than technology-oriented. Therefore, finding out the way to deem community-oriented impact of technology-oriented programmes is a challenging issue of TSE2 Quiet Air Transport. This implies enhanced interactions with existing or future independent programmes (such as Sesar, Aflonext, CleanSky, CleanSky 2, Clean Aviation), but also goes far beyond.

Preliminary views consider four actions within the Future Sky Theme Quiet Air Transport, i.e.:

  • A coordinated research action on methods, low-TRL enablers and thorough understanding of noise generation and propagation,
  • A coordinated research action on impact, perception and community annoyance,
  • A coordinated support action aiming at managing the research network and at integrating achievements of Future Sky Theme Quiet Air Transport (QAT) within the dedicated European roadmaps on noise-related research,
  • A global assessment action aiming at considering future achievements of Future Sky Theme Quiet Air Transport and achievements of other past or present coordinated research and innovation actions (CRIAs) from a community-oriented standpoint.

EREA assumes that progresses made within this Future Sky Theme on impact or perception will help getting sooner the 2035 ACARE noise midterm objectives (-11 effectively-perceived dB).

Consequently, the vision stemming from Future Sky Theme QAT should continue to be implemented within the next years

More information on this Future Sky Theme is available in the White Paper on Quiet Air Transport.



In Flightpath 2050 it is stated that the air transport will grow continuously reaching 25 million commercial flights by 2050. This is approximately 2.5 times today’s traffic (2015). Due to limited air space and ground area this traffic volume cannot be sustained from the noise perspective by the current European ATM. In addition to that, continuous urbanization demands more sophisticated interaction of the overall air transport system (especially airports) with its neighbourhood. These two opposing trends make another goal defined by the SRIA comprehensible: reduction in noise emission by 65% as well as substantial reduction of further emissions. Even more stringent noise requirements recently appeared with the “Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region” released by the WHO on mid-2018, and airports authorities do not know yet how to cope with.

In addition, there is a complex scheme of intricate noise regulations applied throughout Europe (national, federal, local) but most of them are only based on averaged intensity-based metrics, disregarding aspects such as emergence, duration and repeatability and non-acoustical factors. Last, considering the above-mentioned trends, it is foreseeable that new quiet aerial vehicles have to be developed and existing regulations have to be further refined in order to cope with Flightpath 2050 goals.

Future Sky Theme 2 will investigate the noise aspects of increased air transport and its impact on the environment. The aim of Future Sky Theme 2 “Quiet Air Transport” is to derive new approaches to aviation noise – addressing noise at source (aircraft), air transport scenarios and community noise. This Future Sky Theme will focus on quietening one purposely selected relevant air transport scenario. Links will be established with Future Sky Theme 4 (Urban Air Mobility) as well as with the top-down approach of Clean Sky and with SESAR.

To define its contours, the initiative will:

  • Provide mixed fidelity prediction toolsets for targeted design of low impact concept aircraft and hi-fi methods for “virtual noise assessment”;
  • Develop fresh ideas for low noise technologies and for disruptive low-noise aircraft designs;
  • Establish scientific process to derive aircraft source noise targets from relevant noise impact metrics, including human factors;
  • Create a basis for new standards in noise impact assessment encompassing more comprehensive noise metrics and non-acoustical factors in the prospect of reducing annoyance and health impact;
  • Address along with Future Sky Theme 4 the noise impact of new Urban Air Mobility both from a technology and from a regulatory standpoint;
  • Contribute to the training of young scientists through their involvement in research on aviation noise;
  • Disseminate results and support their implementation by end-users such as airlines and airports.

More information on this Future Sky Theme is available in the White Paper on Quiet Air Transport.