Wake up: it's nearly midnight

What a pity some business jet client wanted to come to, or leave, Geneva in a very noisy aircraft just before midnight on Whit Monday.

It might be related to the EBACE exhibition of business aircraft, but it is still annoying when a small jet, supposedly one of the most silent ones, leaves Geneva just before midnight on a public holiday (Whit Monday, 20 May, 2013) and makes almost as much noise as a big intercontinental jet leaving for North America. Of course, this is all quite legal, according to Swiss regulations, but I felt strongly enough to send in to the Geneva airport head of environmental affairs  the following protest :-

If my information is correct, a Hawker 800XP business jet, registration EI-WXP, operated by Westair Aviation, landed in Geneva at 23h15 on Whit Monday, 20 May, leaving again at 23h55 the same night. One would presume that it was either bringing someone to Geneva (to EBACE?) or taking them back home (to Ireland?).

On our microphone in Vernier we registered the overflight noise as measuring 81 dBA. Given that our measurements normally correspond fairly accurately with those of the airport's own nearby microphone, this is quite reliable.

The only overflights exceeding this noise value over the whole of 20 May were 5 intercontinental flights of big jets (4 to North America and one to Abu Dhabi), plus an Aeroflot A320 to Moscow.

A Westair Gulf G550 also left late at night (23h22 on 15 May), but making much less noise. This brings to 5 the number of Westair takeoffs this year after 23h: a higher rate than the 6 for the whole of 2012. This suggests that Westair has no qualms about scheduling departures after 23h, in contradiction to the spirit of the Swiss OFAC regulations (though not to the legal details of these regulations), which request companies to be very sparing in scheduling any flight after 22h00.

If my information is correct, then when next year Geneva airport introduces the new aircraft noise classification, this Hawker 800XP will remain in noise class V, whereas the big intercontinental jets will drop to noise class II. The implication is that this Hawker 800XP aircraft is supposed to be very quiet.

In view of the above information, it is VERY difficult to imagine why such a small and supposedly quiet jet can have been so noisy. I therefore request that you check your own records, correlating the Westair aircraft with the noise of these other, much bigger aircraft, so as to indicate exactly why there was so much noise. On behalf of the airport, you may also wish to apologise to the commune of Vernier for such noise just before midnight on a public holiday (Whit Monday).

You will certainly know that at airports such as London Heathrow, aircraft noise and trajectory are monitored, and that excessive noise or deviation from authorised trajectories can cause action to be taken against the airline concerned. It is probably true that Swiss airports have no such regulations: a fact which I find regrettable! However, I would request that, even if no such regulations exist, you make a proper investigation of this incident.

Previous experience does not make me over-optimistic as to any answer!

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