In the renewal, the intermediate approach height of Runway 1 will be increased by 330 metres. The intermediate approach height of Runway 3 will be decreased by 270 metres. The change will particularly improve noise control on Runway 1, where about 30% of all landings at Helsinki Airport take place.
"The goal of the change is to reduce noise from approaching airplanes and to cut emissions, particularly during peak hours and at night," says Mikko Viinikainen, Finavia's sustainable development director.
During the peak hours in the afternoon, airplanes land from the direction of Kerava on Runways 1 and 3. During other hours, only Runway 1 is used when landing from the direction of Kerava.
After the renewal, airplanes approaching Runway 1 will be higher during peak hours and at night, in an area located to the north-east of Kerava, about 10 to 25 km from the runway. At Runway 3, noise control becomes slightly weaker, but this only accounts for about 3% of all landings.
The change in approach methods as of 14 November is included in the airport's noise control plans in accordance with its environmental permit.
Airplane noise area considerably smaller
In the last decade, the aircraft noise area has decreased substantially even though the traffic volume has increased. In 1990, a total of 97,000 people resided in the aircraft noise area in the capital region, whereas the number in 2011 was 14,000. The reduction is due to progress in aircraft technology and air traffic control operating methods.
"Finavia is also committed to long-term flight route development so that aircraft taking off will avoid the most dense population centres as effectively as possible. The location of landing routes is defined according to the direction of the runways, and the opportunities to develop new approach routes are few," says Viinikainen.
"This is why Finavia is developing landing methods which airlines can use to produce less noise.
In noise control, important aspects include optimising runway use and night-time limitations, effective, long-term flight route planning and limitations on the noisiest aircraft.