Residents living close to the city airport could have a less noisy environment in the near future. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday set a noise limit for the aircraft purchased by the airlines operating in India. However, the rule applies to aircraft manufactured after July this year and not to airlines’ existing aircraft fleet, said Bharat Bhushan, DGCA chief.
On an average, a flight takes off or lands every two minutes at the city airport. The operator records the airport’s noise levels once a month but the government has not laid down a specific noise limit for airports.
The new noise norms could be critical because daily flight movement in the city is projected to touch 750 take-offs and landings by 2014 from the present 620 odd daily movements. The second airport at Panvel, which is likely to be partially operational by 2015, will raise this figure considerably.
According to the rule, new aircrafts would be cleared for use only if the noise emitted from their engines is within the limit prescribed by the airline regulator.
Noise levels would be tested at three stages — take-off, landing and when the aircraft is airborne but close to the ground. The airline regulator has prescribed noise limits on the basis of the number of engines in an aircraft.
The maximum noise levels have been set in keeping with international standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The highest level permissible for an aircraft is 106 EPNdb (effective permissible noise decibel), which is equivalent to a loud discothèque. But a person would be exposed to that sort of sound only if he is standing on the runway. By the time the sound travels to nearby buildings, it would be within the permissible limits. The circular mentions higher flight paths, which would minimise noise levels mid-air.
“The effort is good to minimise noise pollution but the circular does not explain who would monitor the noise decibels after the DGCA certification,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener Awaaz Foundation, a city-based organisation working against noise pollution.