News / Toronto

Pearson airport launches five-year plan to reduce noise

Plan includes encouraging airlines to adopt quieter fleet and a pilot program on home soundproofing.

An Air Canada plane landing at Pearson Airport. A new plan could help reduce the noise for residents around the airport.

Torstar News Service Order this photo

An Air Canada plane landing at Pearson Airport. A new plan could help reduce the noise for residents around the airport.

Canada's busiest airport is soaring into the new year with a bold resolution: to become the quietest airport in the country.

The Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) is launching a five-year noise-management plan to reduce the sound produced by both aircrafts and operational activities. Residents around the airport have long complained about the issue and sought limits on night flights, according to a Toronto Star story in 2014.

"There's no silver bullet if you will, but airports can actually move the dial on the noise impact," said GTAA director of community relations Robyn Connelly.

The new plan outlines 10 commitments that will guide the airport's efforts at combatting noise. It follows two years of community and stakeholder consultations as well as advice from industry experts on best practices, Connelly said.

One of the commitments encourages airlines to adopt a quieter fleet. Last September, Pearson announced plans to introduce the Quieter Fleet Incentive Program, in which airlines will be rewarded if they retrofit their aircrafts to reduce noise. The program, the first of its kind in Canada, should be available in the next 18-24 months, said Connelly.

There's also a plan to introduce a Noise Insulation Program, with a pilot project providing funds to residents to help soundproof their homes. Connelly said similar programs exist at more than 26 airports around the world, but none in Canada.

Another part of the plan will explore enhancing the Night Flight Restriction Program, significantly reducing the number of arrivals and departures between midnight and 6:30 a.m. wherever possible. Pearson is already reviewing its night-time runway program as part of the Toronto Noise Mitigation Initiatives, and the results are expected to be presented to the community this winter.

"We need to build a program that resonates with our residents, for our climate and our operations," said Connelly.

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