British Airways is to use an Airbus A380 to explore new operational procedures intended to reduce noise in the vicinity of London Heathrow.
The airline will perform a series of flights early next year to demonstrate techniques which will be developed through a partnership involving the airport, navigation service NATS, and Airbus’s ProSky air traffic management division.
BA will co-operate to examine operational changes including reducing thrust during departure and optimising the aircraft’s height.
“Changes to these departure procedures have the potential to significantly reduce noise levels,” says Airbus.
Procedures will be flown in a BA flight simulator before being applied to a series of demonstration flights. BA will use the A380 to carry out the tests.
Airbus executive vice-president for customer affairs Chris Buckley says the A380 is capable of following an optimised flight path “very precisely”.
BA environment strategy manager Capt Dean Plumb adds that the type has “unique” performance abilities which can be refined to cut noise levels. Procedures developed under the initiative, designated Quieter Flight, will be made available to other operators and airports.