Heathrow press releases

12 January, 2015

Heathrow Airport Welcomes the latest generation of Qatar Airways’ quiet aircraft

Qatar Airways' A350XWB Arrives in Heathrow



Qatar Airways has brought its first A350 XWB aircraft to Heathrow to help the airport prepare for its eventual introduction.

Developments and improvements on functionalities on the Airbus A350 XWB will allow it to operate up to 21 decibels below the regulatory standards for aircraft of its kind, as well as reducing its carbon emissions.

New, quieter aircraft such as the A350 XWB will help to ensure fewer local residents are affected by noise from Heathrow. Given the popular and competitive nature of Heathrow’s routes, airlines tend to use their newest and quietest aircraft at the airport. In fact, Heathrow’s fleet mix is made up of over 18% more Chapter 4 aircraft, the quietest and newest aircraft, than the global fleet average.

Heathrow and Qatar Airways are coordinating on a long-term plan to provide quieter skies for people around the airport, as outlined in the airport’s Blueprint for noise reduction. Some of the practical steps outlined in the Blueprint include:


  • Providing consistency around landing gear deployment
  • Use of steeper approaches when we run trials
  • Improvements on track keeping,
  • Use of Continuous Descent Approach,
  • Reducing late runners / early arrivals

Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Director of Sustainability says “Heathrow is proud to count on airline partners like Qatar Airways to use the quietest and most modern aircraft on our routes. We are committed to phasing-out the noisiest and oldest aircraft in the short-term, and ensuring that new aircraft like A350 XWB are taken up by all our airline partners in the long-term, to the benefit of local residents.”

Dider Evrard, Airbus Executive Vice President Programmes says “With the A350 XWB exceeding our own targets on noise emissions far below the ICAO requirement, we have designed an innovative aircraft that can deliver quieter take-offs and landings at airports like Heathrow alongside its exceptional fuel burn and all-round environmental performance.”

Simon Burr, Rolls-Royce, Trent XWB Programme Director – Civil Large Engines, says: “The Trent XWB has already proven itself to be the most efficient large aero engine flying today and we have focussed on ensuring we deliver the best possible environmental performance to support Airbus A350 XWB operations.”

In response to the feedback from local communities, Heathrow’s Blueprint for noise reduction outlines the airport’s ten-point plan to cut noise by Summer 2015. The first of these steps is a plan for an early phase out of Chapter 3, the oldest and noisiest planes, and exploring a stronger round of incentives like increases in landing charges for older aircraft.


Notes to Editors:

Qatar’s A350 landed at Heathrow at 14:00 on Saturday, January 10th. It will leave Heathrow on Monday, January 12th at 1400, en route to Doha, the home base of Qatar Airways, where it will be prepared to enter commercial service on its first route between Doha and Frankfurt.

For more information on Heathrow’s Blueprint for noise reduction, please visit http://www.heathrowairport.com/noise/making-heathrow-quieter/our-noise-strategy/blueprint-for-noise-reduction

The Airbus A350 XWB– the newest and most advanced passenger plane of its kind, powered by the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB the most efficient large aero engine flying in the world today - is entering commercial service in 2015 following delivery of the first aircraft in December to launch customer Qatar Airways. The all-new aircraft is one of the most fuel efficient and quietest to ever enter into commercial service thanks to some of the cutting-edge technologies that have been developed and manufactured by UK companies.

778 orders for the A350 XWB have been placed so far by airlines operating across the world, sustaining jobs and investment throughout the UK. Airbus’ Filton site, near Bristol, designs the wings for the aircraft as well as conducting the design and testing of the landing gear and fuel systems, while the manufacture of the wings takes place at the company’s Broughton site in north Wales. The engines are designed and manufactured by Rolls-Royce in Derby and the landing gear is made by Messier-Bugatti-Dowty in Gloucestershire.

The first A350 XWB aircraft to land at Heathrow arrived on Saturday, January 10th for operational proving and to assist with research on noise reduction as the A350XWB is one of the quietest aircraft flying today



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Email: media_centre@heathrow.com