Ceisteanna—Questions Oral Answers. - Jet Aircraft Noise Abatement.


asked the Minister for Transport and Power if he is aware of the extreme annoyance caused in recent weeks to residents in the vicinity of Dublin Airport by the great noise of jet aircraft engaged in training flights at all hours of the day and night; why Aer Lingus-Aer Rianta training has recently been transferred from Shannon to Dublin; and what steps will be taken to abate the nuisance.


asked the Minister for Transport and Power if there is any restriction on night jet flights at Dublin Airport for the purpose of noise abatement; and, if not, why.

I propose, with your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, to take Questions Nos. 3 and 4 together.

All practical measures consistent with safe operation are taken to minimise disturbance to the public by jet flights en route to and from Dublin Airport. For instance, there are no scheduled flights by jet aircraft after approximately 11 p.m. and special noise abatement techniques are used, where applicable.

Aer Lingus have not transferred pilot training from Shannon to Dublin but it is necessary to carry out some parts of the training programme temporarily at Dublin this year so as to enable it to be completed in time for the coming summer schedule. Such training as has taken place coupled with a temporary re-routing of traffic which was necessary to permit of repairs to the main runway, has understandably caused some uneasiness in areas not previously sensitive to aircraft noise. I am satisfied that existing arrangements to abate noise are satisfactory having regard to the location of a number of built-up areas in relation to the airport.

Would the Minister say when the repairs to the main runway will be completed because at present by reason of the use of subsidiary runways, I am informed—will the Minister say if it is correct?—that planes are being brought over the city suburbs such as Whitehall, which would not be affected if, in fact, the main runway was used for the purpose?

I could not say exactly when the runway will be repaired but, as the Deputy says, there has been a re-routing of traffic. The noise, as the Deputy knows, is not very great and in some cases it is because some people have experienced no jet noise at all that they complain. But I think the airport company has received only one serious complaint and I have had practically no complaints myself—at least very few of them. I think the Deputy can take it for granted that the position will right itself very soon.

The Minister is aware that they are now training on the new Boeing 727 jets which are far noisier than any plane used heretofore?

They will be used when the peak summer schedule comes into operation.

Can the Minister say why Aer Lingus could not carry out the entire training job at Shannon Airport, just as BOAC and BEA are doing?

That was for special reasons, due to the industrial dispute in Aer Lingus in which certain staffs stopped working overtime, and that caused the difficulty.

May I take it, then, that it is the policy of Aer Lingus to continue training from Dublin Airport?

In the ordinary way, yes.

Is the training of jet pilots and others a matter of day to day administration in Aer Lingus?

The whole question of training, of course, is.

I was wondering what function the Minister had in the matter.

May I ask the Minister a supplementary question on No. 4? The Minister is under a complete illusion in thinking that people are not troubled by the noise of jet planes over the city of Dublin. It would clarify the position considerably if he were in a position to show us whether or not there are any insuperable difficulties about jet planes leaving the port of Dublin, crossing out to sea from the airport and then proceeding down the coast over the sea, or proceeding in the direction of Great Britain without actually passing over the city or residential areas. There may be, but, if there is not, it would appear to the ordinary citizen that that would be the thing to do.

There are numerous technical reasons why what might be described as a sort of perfectionist policy cannot be adopted. It depends on the direction of the wind and a number of other factors. It also depends on the general air traffic control at the airport. There is at the moment a concentration of traffic on runways which has the effect of causing the least disturbance and that is the most we can do.