Noise Exemptions

Operations at UK airports by Chapter 2 sub-sonic jet aircraft of 34t and above are not permitted unless specifically exempted by the CAA from the relevant noise legislation.

Under the terms of Directive 2006/93, which replaces the original Council Directive 92/14/EEC adopted in 1992, civil subsonic jet aeroplanes with a maximum take-off mass of 34,000kg or more, or with more than 19 passenger seats, operating at airports in EU Member States are required to be "Chapter 3 compliant" - that is, certificated as meeting the noise standards specified in Chapter 3 of Part II, Volume 1 of Annex 16 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

This requirement, which effectively bans the noisiest airliners from UK airports, was introduced into UK national legislation by The Aeroplane Noise Regulations 1999 and came into force on 1 April 2002.  Regulation 25 makes the CAA responsible for granting specific, temporary exemptions from this ban.  Exemptions may be granted where the CAA is satisfied:

(a) that the operations of the aeroplane are of such an exceptional nature that it would be unreasonable to withhold an exemption (for example urgent relief flights, official visits by Heads of State); or

(b) that the aeroplane is being operated on a non-revenue flight for the purposes of alterations, repair or maintenance.

For a list of recent exemptions granted, please follow the links below.

Exemptions granted under (a)

Exemptions granted under (b)

The CAA will also consider applications for exemptions in relation to aeroplanes of historical interest.

Applying for an exemption

An application for exemption must meet the criteria described above. The guidance notes for applicants explain the exemption function in more detail, including how to contact us.

Other relevant UK noise legislation

EU Regulation 598/2014 sets out a framework for the introduction of airport-specific measures with a view to addressing noise problems in the most cost-effective way on an airport-by-airport basis. There is no blanket prohibition of noisy aircraft, other than those identified above. Instead, the Regulation sets out a process that must be followed where such action is being contemplated, a process designed to enable local solutions to be developed for local problems.

The Regulation will enter into force in 2016.  Transition arrangements from the EU Directive which it replaces are in place until then.  The earlier Directive was introduced into UK national legislation by The Aerodromes (Noise Restrictions) (Rules and Procedures) Regulations 2003.

Other links

More information about the CAA's environmental work.