Transavia fleet renewal begins: Industry alternative to Schiphol downsizing

Today it came through the rain and fog: the new Airbus A321neo from Transavia. The aircraft is the first of more than a hundred aircraft that KLM and Transavia will have to renew their fleet. In addition to lower CO2 emissions, planes should also make less noise for Schiphol residents. The company says it’s up to 50 percent less.

The renewal of the fleet is an important part of the KLM Group’s case regarding the downsizing of Schiphol. Residents living near the airport support the outgoing Cabinet’s plans to reduce the number of flight movements at Schiphol from 500,000 to 452,500 a year to limit aircraft disruption.

However, the limitation may be made differently depending on the aviation industry itself. According to their strategy, quieter aircraft, along with other measures such as different takeoffs and landings, even lead to a reduction in the number of flights.

Quieter but no less annoying

Professor Dick Simons, aircraft noise expert and member of TU Delft, says the new aircraft actually cause less noise pollution. Simons examines the connection between harassment and noise pollution, among other topics. He thinks KLM and Transavia’s strategy is “good in itself”, but for him it’s not just about the noise of the plane. “This also includes considerations such as the type of noise. “For example, if it contains high-pitched sounds, people are more likely to perceive it as an annoyance.”

Local resident and president of the Schiphol Watch Foundation Alfred Blokhuizen also realizes this. He says the Airbus was whistling when it landed. “It’s pretty annoying and ubiquitous.” Blokhuizen does not believe the new, quieter planes will lead to a reduction in the decibels they hear around Schiphol.

According to Professor Simons, the new fleet should be considered quieter, but this does not mean less inconvenience for residents. For example, a 3 decibel reduction results in the noise being reduced by half, but people do not perceive it that way. “You need about 10 decibels for that.”

“This will not solve the problem.”

According to Simons, noise pollution around Schiphol has been decreasing for years. “We haven’t done much research on this new aircraft, but in the certification data we see that it is a quieter aircraft than the old aircraft. The question is whether Schiphol’s surroundings will actually become quieter. “Then you look at the impact of the noise.” For a whole year. Then one plane won’t make much difference. But I predict it will get quieter once the entire fleet is renewed, including the larger aircraft.

But residents don’t experience it that way. “We think quieter planes won’t be a problem, but that won’t solve the problem. That’s too much in one day and night. It’s good that we’re working on it, but it’s not the solution. “It essentially has to do with less traffic,” says Jan Boomhouwer of the Right to Protect Against Aircraft Harassment.

Airbus is scheduled to fly within a few weeks of the new year. “A new page in our history,” says Transavia CEO Marcel de Nooijer. According to him, these planes offer the company “the opportunity to fly with more people on the same flight.”

Fleet renewal comes at a cost: In total, the company will spend around 1.6 billion euros on new aircraft. De Nooijer says the entire fleet of 46 Transavia aircraft should be replaced within seven years.

Research shows that people are more disturbed by aircraft noise than before. This is likely due to long-term exposure, among other things, according to Simons. “There’s a story in your head that sticks, so to speak.” To truly combat this problem, he believes we need to do more, like thinking about how planes take off and land and considering alternatives to today’s jet-fueled flights.

Source: NOS