BA to hush the bus

British Airways is to modify 130 of its older Airbus aircraft to reduce noise on the landing approach.

The airline's A319, A320 and A321 aircraft produce a whining noise that can be heard at ground level as flights approach to land. It is caused by air whistling through Fuel Over Pressure Protector (FOPP) cavities -" holes of around two inches in diameter in each wing -" and can be fixed by retrofitting the planes with flow deflectors.

BA agreed to the modification after lobbying by residents who live under its Gatwick approach. From October, the airline will start to modify 130 older aircraft, a process that will take two years.

BA's head of environment Jonathon Counsell said: "As part of our sustainability strategy we are always looking for new ways to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on our local communities, and we are delighted to be able to make these changes."

Lufthansa has the same programme of modification underway already, with 100 aircraft fitted with the deflectors. Another 57 aircraft still need to be modified but all new Airbus aircraft delivered to the airline since early 2014 have the equipment factory-fitted.

Flyover measurements taken by Lufthansa show that overall noise levels are reduced by up to four decibels at distances of between 10 and 17 kilometres from the airport and high-pitched sounds removed.