Aer Lingus flies high in ‘clean and quiet’ Heathrow rankings

Israel’s El Al ranked as dirtiest and noisiest of airlines to land at biggest UK airport

Aer Lingus is the second cleanest and quietest airline in a league table of 50 carriers using Heathrow Airport, while Israel's El Al is the dirtiest and noisiest.

The rankings are compiled regularly by the UK’s largest airport despite a tenfold decrease in the number of people living in its “noise footprint” since the 1970s.

Nevertheless, Heathrow claims to have “some of the world’s toughest rules and regulations on noise” particularly around night time flights.

Rankings for volume and emissions “efficiencies” are calculated based on arrivals and departures of aircraft, with overall measurement scores divided by the number of seats on board.


The best performer of all in the first quarter of 2017 - the latest table released - was British Airways short haul services, a sister airline to Aer Lingus in the International Airlines Group (AIG). Its Iberia airline came in 10th position, although BA long haul landed in 19th.

Worst offenders

As well as El Al, the five worst offenders were Kuwait Airways, Middle East Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines and Oman Air.

Heathrow provides financial incentives for airlines to keep the noise down with reduced landing charges.

“Metrics like the Continuous Descent Approach (CDA violations) and Track deviations on departure (TK violations) allow the airlines to monitor their performance and efficiency. A climb in the rankings can result in the welcome side effect of long-term financial savings for an airline,” the airport says.

Heathrow first began printing “name and shame” lists regarding noise in 2013 (emissions are a new addition) as part of a PR drive ahead of plans to build a controversial third runway.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times