Super Caravelle, MD-81/82 and Airbus 380

  • While sitting on the restaurant terrace waiting for a Super Caravelle, I got an MD_81 instead. Next time, maybe an Airbus A380?

While seated on the outside terrace of a well-known restaurant just near the end of the main Geneva airport runway, I was looking forward to the arrival of a Super Caravelle. Instead, I had to stop chatting with the charming young lady sitting opposite me while one of those old McDonnell Douglas MD81 jet aircraft took off just overhead. By reflex, I noted the exact time.

Later, I checked to see what it was. Not surprisingly, it was one of the MD81/82 aircraft, operated by Scandinavian Air Services (SAS) to and from Scandinavia. These aircraft, which unfortunately turned out to be a disappointment as regards their noise emission, are in the second highest noise class (class II), and therefore pay more in airport fees than the less noisy aircraft.

In doing some further checks, I was surprised to see that in the first 8 months of 2010 there have been more movements of these aircraft than there were in 2009 : 245 landings, as against 230 in 2009. This is more than three times the total of all other class II aircraft (of which there have again been more in 2010 than in 2009).

In theory, the surcharges levied on the noisier classes of aircraft are supposed to encourage airlines to replace these old aircraft by newer, quieter ones. However, this theory does not seem to have been particularly effective in recent years. This ineffectiveness can fairly easily be understood by an examination of the charges which an aircraft like these pays to come to Geneva. These charges can be calculated by use of an interactive spreadsheet on the airport site.

An MD81 will pay about 1000 CHF landing fee, calculated on its Maximum Take-off Weight of 140 tonnes. To this is added 775 CHF for air traffic control and handling charges, plus 600 CHF for the class II noise surcharge: a total of 2375 CHF. Thus, the noise surcharge is only about 25% of the total airport handling charge. In consequence, over a year, the total charges might be of the order of 800,000 CHF, of which 200,000 would be the noise surcharge.

Given that the cost of a single new Airbus A320, paying no noise surcharge, might be of the order of 70,000,000, it would therefore take about 350 years to pay for just one such aircraft with the noise surcharge savings. Multiply that by the number of MD81/82 in the fleet and you get up to thousands of years.

In other words, the noise surcharge is completely irrelevant to the purchase by airlines of a new fleet of aircraft. Instead, all that the surcharge does is raise money for the airport by letting the companies think that they are paying for the right to keep using noisy aircraft.The more effective way, according to the ARAG CRINEN propositions, would be to reduce the daily time period within which noisy aircraft can be accepted!

The people who recognise which is the restaurant concerned, and who may have heard of the Airbus A380, may know that they can now eat a pretty large steak there, without stopping to listen to their dining partner(s).

19:52 Posted in Noisy aircraft | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: sas, md81, md82 | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

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