4th generation aviation environment management white paper



There are two types of constraints on airport growth, physical capacity (terminal and runway) and environmental capacity. Environmental capacity can be expressed as the net of the community’s tolerance for environmental impact, less the impact already imposed by the airport. Environmental capacity is optimised through a balanced programme of impact reduction and community tolerance building initiatives.

The proactive use of impact reduction approaches has resulted in significant outcomes for many airports and remains an important part of any programme, however the increasing use of sophisticated tolerance-building initiatives is heralding the arrival of the new, collaborative, fourth-generation aviation airport environment management. This new generation of initiatives will be founded on sophisticated information sharing, feedback and empowerment principles and will demand new approaches and new technologies.


Despite the recent impacts of a series of shocks, the long term outlook for aviation growth remains strong and Airports are increasingly understood to be attractive investments with potential for both short term income and longer term growth.

Many airports worldwide face growing pressure from the combination of a steady growth in airport activity, and increased numbers of noise complaints from surrounding communities. Without an effective strategy for reducing airport noise impact as well as building and maintaining community relationships, noise complaints have the potential to lead to restrictions in airport operations and constraints on future growth.

Whilst traditional noise management approaches have been effective in reducing noise impact they have been less successful in improving community tolerance to noise. A new paradigm for noise management that addresses both noise impact and community tolerance is required by airports in order to maintain current airport operations and minimise potential constraints to future airport growth.

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