EuroAirport presents its action plan “Flight noise reduction 23:00-24:00” as a core element of its sustainable development strategy

By 2019, EuroAirport aims to cut in half the number of take-offs to the south between
23.00 hours and midnight in order to alleviate substantially the noise situation for the municipalities concerned. A second objective is to stabilize the total number of flight movements between 23.00 hours and midnight by the end of 2019. In the long term, the airport seeks to implement a flight noise limitation system in collaboration with the French and Swiss civil aviation authorities. The approved action plan is expected to ease the noise situation in the second hour of the night in the short term without jeopardizing the airport's important economic function for the region.

Sustainability as a core element in the “EuroAirport 2030” strategy
The strategy of EuroAirport - “EuroAirport 2030” - concerns the three business segments of the airport: passenger traffic, air freight and industrial activities (maintenance and refurbishment of private aircraft). It is based on the principle of sustainable development made up of the three components economy, society and environment. It is EuroAirport’s stated goal to evaluate the economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainability on an ongoing basis and to keep these in balance.
EuroAirport is faced with a number of conflicting needs. On the one hand, the airport needs to ensure optimal air transport connections for the economically strong trinational region and to satisfy the population’s growing demand for mobility. On the other hand, it has to respect the concerns of residents living near the airport with regard to flight noise reduction, especially during the night.

EuroAirport has been pursuing a progressive and pro-active noise protection policy for 30 years. Given the increase in noise between 23:00 hours and midnight in recent years, the Board of Directors and Management of the airport consider it to be essential to implement effective short- and long-term actions in order to ease the flight noise situation. These actions are defined within the framework of the “EuroAirport 2030” strategy which is based on sustainable development. To do this, the airport is taking a bilateral approach in cooperation with all airport partners.

Unfavourable development of the noise situation
The noise impact for the municipalities located near to EuroAirport has remained generally stable during the day (according to the noise values measured during 24 hours). However, air traffic between 23:00 hours and midnight to the south and south-west of the airport has recently increased: the number of take-offs to the south in the final hour of operations between 23:00 hours and midnight has doubled since 2014. Although the noise impact for the majority of municipalities shows a reduction in 2017, EuroAirport recognizes the need for action with regard to the noise situation, in particular between 23:00 hours and midnight.

It is the declared objective of all companies at the airport to cause as little noise as possible during the night hours in densely populated areas. The Board of Directors and Management of the binational airport have therefore decided to implement an effective action plan with clear objectives and to bring their overall airport development strategy into line with this.
Short-term and long-term objectives
The action plan that has now been approved by the Board of Directors focuses on the rapid and effective easing of the noise situation in the last hour of operations from 23:00 hours until midnight. At the same time and in the long term, it builds on targets geared to actual noise limitation instead of limiting the number of flight movements. The action plan presented today is the result of intense and open discussions with all partners: airlines, ground handling companies, cargo companies and aviation authorities. The goal is to agree on a charter with these partners that includes efforts aimed at reducing noise. Regular and transparent reports – to be made available to political authorities, resident associations and the public – will ensure that goal attainment is monitored.

Short term: fewer take-offs to the south and a stabilization of flight movements overall
Compared with 2017, EuroAirport is specifically aiming to cut in half the number of take-offs to the south in the final hour of operations (23:00-24:00 hours) by the end of 2019. In addition, it expects to stabilize the total number of flight movements (take-offs and landings to the north and south) between 23/00 hours and midnight by the end of next year.

Action plan already in effect as of summer 2018
As part of immediate measures, around 13% of flights programmed between 23:00 hours and midnight have been able to be brought forward with the start of the summer timetable. This corresponds to a reduction of 102 passenger and 45 express cargo flights.

As the majority of landings after 23:00 hours are due to delayed passenger aircraft, EuroAirport has launched a “punctuality drive” together with the airlines. This should minimize the number of delayed flights after 23:00 hours. The implementation tools envisaged range from incentives for earlier arrival and departure times as well as generally broader time margins through to process optimization in the express freight business.

In cooperation with the French aviation authority (DGAC), EuroAirport is also testing new possibilities for runway usage and improved flight methods using technical tools.

The airport will also be relying on other financial incentives, such as a punctuality bonus for flights before 23:00 hours or for the use of modern low-noise aircraft such as the new Airbus A320neo and the Boeing 737 Max.

Long term: noise limit
In the long term, the airport considers that the most appropriate solution is to define and introduce a “restrictive noise contour” in cooperation with the French and Swiss civil aviation authorities. This is expected to serve as a “noise straitjacket” and would, regardless of the development of flight movements, result in a sustainable noise limit. This restrictive noise contour would also have a further positive effect in that it would encourage the use of modern aircraft. Given the different legal frameworks in France and Switzerland, the French and Swiss civil aviation authorities are currently examining how such a restrictive noise contour can be drawn up and defined.

Development prospects: primarily to maintain capacity, then modernization
On the basis of various long-term studies, EuroAirport expects all three business areas to continue growing. By 2030, passenger traffic figures at EuroAirport are expected to reach between 11 and 13 million. For the cargo business, the forecast is between 100,000 and 120,000 tonnes for both cargo and express freight by 2030.

In order to maintain service quality for all passengers and companies based at the airport site in line with this development of regional demand, EuroAirport will have to adapt the capacity of its existing passenger terminal.

In the short term, between 2018 and 2021, the focus will be on maintaining capacity in the passenger terminal building including, for example, the entire renovation of the arrivals halls and improvement of baggage control checks. In order to ensure medium and long-term performance and modernization of the passenger terminal building, a number of different development scenarios for the period 2025 to 2030 will be studied. These studies will be launched as part of a public tender for modernization of the terminal infrastructure (MTI).

The planned rail link is a key element in the airport's strategy. The two Basel cantons, the Canton of Solothurn and the Grand-Est region of France signed a joint declaration of intent concerning the train timetable in December 2017. The progress made on planning and the environmental impact assessment provide the basis for the second public consultation process which will begin in Autumn 2018.

The above development options will also be processed according to the sustainability principles of EuroAirport, taking into account economic, social and environmental considerations.