A cargo flight to Egypt
Just after 11 pm on Wednesday 15 January a large and noisy Airbus A300 took off over Vernier. However, we should not complain!
After noticing the noise as it took off over Vernier I contacted the company operating this aircraft to get more details. Within a very short time I received a very nice explanatory email, explaining what it was, why it was necessary and how the pilot tried hard to minimise the noise. It was also a pleasure to have a sincere apology for the disturbance.
The company name is Tristar Air, and it is based in Cairo. It has just the one aircraft, an Airbus A300 built as long ago as 1990. It operates some scheduled cargo flights and some charter flights. According to the explanation, Wednesday's flight was chartered by the Red Cross to carry urgent humanitarian relief cargo. Apparently, it was late because of an unexpected ground delay at Geneva airport.
It was a pleasure to read that the pilot had applied the procedure for noise reduction on departure (even though I have never been quite clear what is this procedure) and that their scheduling of flights always has tried and always will try to minimise noise. Of course, on an aircraft as big and old as this, there are limits to what a pilot can achieve.
My reply, which I suspect most people would agree with, included the following text :-
We appreciate the efforts of your pilot to make the departure as quiet as possible, though with such an old aircraft there are clearly limits on what can be achieved. It is an unfortunate fact that Geneva airport is surrounded by population centres, with the take-off route that you were assigned going directly over a large town called Vernier. However, we happily accept that flights for the Red Cross are priority: the population here is extremely aware that we are fortunate to live in a prosperous region untouched by the tragic situations in your part of the world. I have no doubt that the supplies are needed and will be well used. I also welcome your assurance that you do your best to schedule your flights to minimise the disturbances for airport neighbours both here and elsewhere. Although the problems are doubtless relatively very low, it is known that exposure to night noise can have a harmful effect on people in the long term.
It is also striking to compare this Tristar Air reply with the reactions when I ask aircraft owners or operators about late departures of smaller, sometimes very noisy, business jets carrying, on average, a very small number of well to do executives. Many simply do not reply, whilst those that do reply almost invariably invariably give no information other than that the flight operated within the permitted hours of operation (unti midnight in Geneva: at Zurich it is an hour earlier!).
If only they had the same attitude as Tristar Air!