in Aerospace

Flybe delivers best noise and emissions performance at Heathrow

Posted 5 February 2018 · 4 Comments

Less than a year into its operations at Heathrow, Flybe has distinguished itself in its noise and emissions performance, achieving the top ranking in the latest 'Fly Quiet and Green' league table.

Data behind the league rankings also shows a marked reduction in the number of aircraft departing in sensitive night time hours this year which, along with other noise mitigations used by Heathrow, are making a real difference to local people.
The latest league table ranks the performance of the top 50 busiest airlines at Heathrow on seven noise and emission metrics from October to December 2017. South West-based Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, flies from Heathrow to Edinburgh and Aberdeen . It debuted in 29th place in its first league ranking mid-2017, and through ongoing engagement with technical teams at Heathrow has quickly climbed up the ranks. 
Flybe worked particularly well with Heathrow to increase its use of Continuous Descent Approaches into Heathrow. This flight procedure reduces noise as it requires less engine thrust and keeps the aircraft higher for longer. Flybe pilots have also been more successful in keeping their flights within the corridors of “noise preferential routes” designated by the Government –  referred to in the league table as 'track keeping'.
Cooperation with Heathrow’s noise technical teams also led to marked improvements in track keeping for other carriers. Cathay Pacific is up 11 places this quarter and now has a perfect score in that metric and Oman Air climbed 15 places due to its nearly perfect (99%) score.
Commenting on its stellar rankings, Flybe’s Chief Operating Officer, Luke Farajallah said: “We are naturally delighted to have topped the rankings at Heathrow as the best operator in noise and emissions performance, especially so early on in our operations there. Flybe acknowledges and takes seriously its environmental responsibilities. It is central to what we do,  informing our choice of using Q400 turboprops on the right routes and being one of the world’s most technologically advanced aircraft, to making constant improvements in our operational processes. As one of Heathrow’s smaller operators, we are obviously very proud to have outperformed most of the biggest and best airlines in the world.”
The latest 'Fly Quiet and Green' scores also reflect the marked decrease in the number of aircraft departing during sensitive night hours in 2017. In fact, from January to December last year, Heathrow’s airline partners reduced the number of late running departures between 23:30 and 04:30 by over 30% versus 2016.
Chapter number scores – the metric which tracks the make- up of airlines’ fleets - across the league table improved by 10% over the last year, showing airlines are using modern aircraft types in their Heathrow routes. Polish airline LOT, for example, achieved a 20% improvement in their scores after introducing a newer Boeing 737 Max at Heathrow for some of their services in the last quarter of 2017.
Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye celebrated the results. He said: “The latest ‘Fly Quiet and Green’ results show the great progress that Heathrow’s airlines have made to help us be a better neighbour.  Last year we announced our intention of halving the number of late running flights over five years – I hope that the 30% reduction in the first year alone will give confidence that we say what we will do and we do what we say.”


4 Comments for Flybe delivers best noise and emissions performance at Heathrow

Wayne Fessey

posted 4 months ago

Indeed, maintaining the credibility of the scheme is most important and perhaps the complex way in which this one is calculated should be revisited. One thing that a scheme featuring a league table does is stimulate competition and also debate, which obviously this is doing. Hopefully it will contribute to further focusing minds on the amount of effort the airlines are actually putting into noise and emmissions reduction.

Dave Reid

posted 4 months ago

Yes, Flybe are indeed to be commended. They came in a close third after joint best-performing airlines Aer Lingus and Delta (as calculated using Heathrow's published methodology and weightings). The latter may well be feeling a bit aggrieved at being unfairly demoted to 2nd and 7th place, respectively. But a more serious issue with Heathrow's results is the arbitrary marking up of airlines' environmental performance scores by an average of over 40%. The average mark that has been awarded is 748 points, compared to an expected average of around 500 given that total scores should be evenly distributed across the range from zero to 1,000. Artificially inflating airlines' environmental performance scores does nothing for the credibility of the scheme.

Wayne Fessey

posted 4 months ago

Heathrow have given the top spot to Flybe using rather complicated metrics which appear to have different weightings, with the amount of points deducted from the ‘perfect’ overall score depending on the weighting of individual metrics ( Yet however Heathrow evaluated the data and made their calculation to reach this decision, Flybe have nevertheless clearly been making an effort to put themselves in the vanguard of airlines striving to reduce noise and emissions, which is to be commended.

Dave Reid

posted 4 months ago

Flybe can't possibly have achieved 930 points out of 1,000 as claimed by Heathrow. They only just scraped into the top half of the rankings for the two most highly-weighted measures (continuous descents and NOx emissions), so they should have more than 100 points deducted for each of those metrics, according to Heathrow's scoring system at You don't need to be a maths genius to see that subtracting 200 from 1,000 can't give a result of 930.

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