Noise at the airport

Normally a Tuesday is a quiet day around the airport, but not yesterday. 100 decibels average and 111 decibels maximum can give one more than an ear ache!

I had an idea that there would be some unusually high noise yesterday, Tuesday 15 November, around Geneva airport, so I went along with my portable noise meter to see what I could measure. The result was quite remarkable: periods of several minutes at an average value of just under 100 decibels and a peak at over 111 decibels are pretty frightening, and can cause permanent damage to hearing. Fortunately, most people living around the airport were spared the suffering.

It all started around 8.30 pm: normally a relatively quiet time, and especially in mid-November (after the Summer beach flights and before whatever ski flights will come if there is ever any snow). One moment things were quiet, the next my ears were pleading for pieces of cotton wool to be plugged into them. I sympathetically thought of all the other people who were in the same Dire Straits as myself (but many of them looked blissfully happy!).

Fortunately, an hour later things got peaceful again, especially around 10 pm after the last outgoing flight (a quiet cargo plane to Leipzig, taking off over Versoix). But then suddenly the decibels hit previously unimagined heights and my ears cried out for mercy. Surely this was not an old generation of noisy low-pitch bangers homing in on Geneva. This time, I could see that many other people looked less happy than before. Indeed, after not too long, many of us who did not appreciate the cacophony voted with our feet and left the Arena in haste. Some of them even wrote their comments in this paper today: see


I got home (Versoix) just in nice time to hear the last incoming flights over my head (maybe the wind had changed so the incoming flights then came in over us), the very last one being an Austrian Airlines flight from Vienna at 10 minutes after midnight.

And how was your evening?

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