04/06/2011

Late take-offs that could have woken us all!

Last night, Tuesday 5 April, people at both ends of the Geneva airport runway could have been woken up by very late take-offs. Was this really necessary?


Last night, 5 April, seemed like a normal night, with runway 05 in use: a slight bise wind so departures over Versoix and the lake, arrivals over Vernier. After a take-off of a Czech private jet at 10h30 pm we in Versoix might have expected quiet, whilst Vernier residents would "only" be overflown by landings, mostly easyJet planes returning home. Right? No, wrong!

The first slight surprise was that the last incoming Swiss flight from Zurich was allowed to come in directly over Versoix, thus showing that both runway directions could be used. That turned out to be the harbinger of bad news!

The first problem was that the easyJet UK flight EZY3375 from London Stansted arrived 1h45 late: at 10h59pm, instead of the scheduled 9h15pm. The airport ground staff did very good work in getting it turned around to leave the parking area before 11pm, but the actual take-off of the return to Stansted, EZY3376, was at 11h40pm on runway 05: living in Versoix, I heard it!

But Versoix did not suffer as much as Vernier (often described as the dustbin place for all things that no-one else wants!). A big and noisy 4-engine Antonov 12-BP cargo plane had landed in Geneva just before 10h15 pm, and it took off again at 5 minutes after midnight OVER VERNIER! In other words, the reverse of the normal runway direction last night.

This aircraft, with registration UR-CGW (Ukraine) is currently operated my a company called Meridian Ltd., based in the Ukraine. Despite a google search, I have no real information on who they are. In past years, the aircraft has previously been owned by Aeroflot, Aviaprima, Samara Airlines, Rila Airlines, Vega Airlines, Jet Line International and Rubystar. It was

We know that it went over Vernier because of the noise recorded on the ARAG noise station there: around 90 dBA (that is really noisy!), but we cannot know where it went because it did not have a GPS-equipped transponder.

The airport web site, not surprisingly, does not indicate this flight. We can perhaps think that it might have been some humanitarian flight, especially since it was seen in January 2010 going to Haiti, but the news and press releases section of the airport Web site, which tends only to give good news articles, says nothing. What we can ask is what exactly was this flight and was it really so urgent that it had to leave that same night, rather than the following morning.

The second question is why the air traffic controllers should have let it go out in the reverse direction, thus ensuring that people at both ends of the airport runway were disturbed by late take-offs! It may have been slightly more efficient in terms of optimising the fuel consumption, but one might feel that there should be some directives to these controllers to take into account noise disturbances: if there are such directives then could we, and the communal authorities of Vernier, Versoix, Genthod and Bellevue, know what they are?

I don't think they directed it over Vernier so as not to further spoil my night's sleep!

10:34 Posted in Noise around Geneva airport | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: antonov, geneva, airport, noise, vernier, versoix | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

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