Dubai International Gives Passengers the Silent Treatment

Dubai, UAE – June 2, 2010 Dubai Airports today announced two initiatives that will significantly improve Dubai International’s ambiance both inside and out by reducing noise and emissions to the benefit of customers, surrounding communities and the environment.

The first ‘silent airport’ project will dramatically curtail the number of public announcements made across all three terminals at the world’s fourth busiest airport for international passenger traffic. In the overwhelming majority of airports worldwide, passengers are bombarded with flight related announcements. Customer research shows that when combined with mandatory security and ad hoc broadcasts, the resulting noise serves more to confuse than inform as passengers become overloaded with information and consequently ‘switch off’ from hearing their flight call.

“Over the past 10 months we have worked closely with our customer airlines to limit announcements to a maximum of two per flight,” explained Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports. “As a result we have cut the number of daily announcements from over 2000 across all three terminals to less than 700 with no impact on departure performance. If anything passengers can now hear their flight announcements more clearly, and they certainly appreciate the quieter environment.”

Dubai International is one of few airports worldwide and the first in the Middle East to implement the ‘silent airport’ concept. To ensure a smooth transition, Dubai Airports has enhanced the quality and presentation of data on flight information display screens located throughout the airport. Airline and airport ‘May I Help You’ staff are also actively reminding passengers to arrive at their gate on time.

In a separate initiative, and as part of its corporate social responsibility programme, Dubai Airports, in conjunction with the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, has announced the phased withdrawal of older generation aircraft that do not conform to international noise and emission standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

ICAO classified Chapter 1 and 2 aircraft will be banned from operating cargo flights at Dubai International from October 31, 2010 and passenger flights effective March 27, 2011 consistent with the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) seasonal schedule change. In order to ensure that operators are not unreasonably affected, Chapter 1 and 2 aircraft will be allowed to continue operations at Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International until April 1, 2012.

“Limiting noise and emissions is critical to the long term sustainability of aviation,” said Griffiths. “This is an incremental step forward in that process. Not only does this programme reduce the airport’s environmental footprint, it does it in a way that respects the business and operational needs of the airlines that serve and provide significant economic and social benefits to our community.”