Planned announcements are making airports less noisy

Photo credit: Brücke-Osteuropa, licensed under CC 1.0 DEED

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

So good to read that the Frankfurt Airport has shown an interest in a “silent airport” policy. Apparently, the airport operator learned that passengers prefer a quieter airport environment as they wait for takeoffs. The loud sounds that can occur in airports are exacerbated by constant announcements related to plane delays, flight connections, security, and missing people.  We could also add passengers talking and suitcases rolling down hallways.  

So how will the waiting rooms at Frankfurt Airport become quieter? One way is to limit boarding calls and restrict these calls to certain areas. This can be readily accomplished today because many announcements come from machines rather than humans. The technology used today to provide information to passengers is conducive to a quieter airport, according to the article. 

Projects to limit loud announcements in airports are also being considered by North American airports. Automated announcements may be clearer and less stressful for passengers, and can be made in a variety of languages.

Interestingly, the article ends by stating that “whether noise is made by man or machines, the general feeling among human beings still may be that less is more.” Yes, indeed, people want less noise. This includes residents living with overhead aircraft noise. The heading of this article states that announcements are making airports less noisy. Just as Frankfurt Airport and airline company Lufthansa appear to be concerned about quieter airports, we should wonder if they are as concerned about quieter aircraft and air routes?

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