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Noise at EDI

Edinburgh Airport is Scotland's busiest airport with over 10.2 million passengers passing through the terminal each year for business or leisure. Whilst air travel provides us with many benefits, aircraft noise can impact on people who live or work near airports and under flight paths.

Whilst some people get accustomed to aircraft noise, Edinburgh Airport is working with others to reduce the impact of aviation noise. Whilst we can't eliminate it completely, we are working to minimise it. We are also committed to explaining what you're hearing and why.

Noise is caused by air going over the aircraft's fuselage (body) and wings - known as airframe -€and its engines. When air passes over the aircraft's airframe, it causes friction and turbulence, which results in noise. The level of noise generated varies according to aircraft size and type, and can differ even for identical aircraft. Engine noise is created by the sound of the engine's moving parts and by the sound of air being expelled at high speed.

Aircraft have been getting progressively quieter as designs and engine technology has advanced and it is expected that today's airlines will be operating even quieter models in the future.

To help address noise we work collaboratively with the Civil Aviation Authority who set the Airspace Policy, airlines themselves and Air Traffic Control (ATC) who advise the aircraft where to fly.

Edinburgh Airport is a member of Sustainable Aviation, a coalition of UK aviation stakeholders spanning aircraft manufacturers, airlines, airports and National Air Traffic Services, the principal air navigation provider. We work together to promote continuous descents and continuous climbs to airlines operating from Edinburgh Airport. For more information visit sustainableaviation.co.uk

As an industry, the four main things we are doing are:

  • Design airframes and engines to reduce noise generation
  • Tighten the regulations on noise
  • Improve the way aircraft and airports operate
  • Provide noise insulation and compensation for people who experience high levels of noise

Through these noise pages we seek to tell you what improvements have been, and are being, made to aircraft design to reduce noise even more. If however you wish to complain about noise please click here to contact us.

As long as people want to fly, there will be noise from aircraft landing and taking off. Although today's aircraft are typically 75% quieter than those used in the 1960s, the number of aircraft using Edinburgh Airport has increased since then to circa 96,000 flights per annum. Although similar to the number of flights in 2003 is down from a pre-recession number of 107,000 flights per annum.

The latest figures published by the Civil Aviation Authority show Edinburgh Airport to be quieter today than any point in the past. This is because older and more noisy aircraft are being phased out - replaced by quieter and more environmentally friendly models.

Noise Fining

In May 2006, Edinburgh Airport chose to introduce a voluntary system of noise fining. Any aircraft that breaks the stated noise thresholds set down by the UK Government is now automatically fined, with the level of the fine dependent on the level of infringement. Two different noise thresholds are used, one for daytime and one for night time. The level of fines imposed were doubled in 2007 and since the introduction of this new system, Edinburgh Airport has seen a significant fall in the number of aircraft making excessive noise on departure from the airport. All money raised from noise fines is placed into the Edinburgh Airport Community Fund.



Modern noise levels

Aircraft today are much quieter than they were 40, 30 or even 20 years ago, with these being replaced by even quieter aircraft in the future. However, even though each individual aircraft is quieter, there are more aircraft flying today and this means that although the average level of noise is lower than before, you hear individual aircraft more often. This makes it even more important that we keep on working to get the noise levels down. The following contour maps detail the shrinking noise contours since 1990.

View decrease in noise contours

Noise contours

The Civil Aviation Authority, which acts as the independent regulator of aviation in the UK, produces noise contour maps for Edinburgh Airport every five years. These contours measure the average noise at Edinburgh Airport over the busiest hours of the day and busiest months at the airport, using the db Leq noise scale.

The latest noise contours from the CAA show that despite an increase in traffic, Edinburgh Airport is quieter today than five years ago and quieter than in 1990.

Download the latest noise contour maps

View decrease in noise contours



Night time noise

Edinburgh Airport is a 24 hour operational airport, and has been for over 20 years. However, the number of night flights operating at Edinburgh Airport between midnight and 05:00 has actually fallen over the last ten years. In 1998, over 4,250 flights landed or took off from Edinburgh Airport between midnight and 05:00. In 2007, that number had reduced to 2,809.

Making a complaint to Edinburgh Airport about noise

Edinburgh Airport has a dedicated phone number for members of the public to raise concerns about noise. You can also email your noise enquiry to noise@edinburghairport.com

Dedicated number: 0800 731 3397 (freephone 24/7)

All callers will be asked to leave their name and contact information, along with details of the date and time of any disturbance. All calls are recorded and complaints investigated. The airport aims to contact each individual caller within two working days. They will be provided with either an answer to their enquiry or will be told how long they can expect to wait for a full response.

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