Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTHA) threatens to exceed the noise margin this year of use (1 November 2021 to 31 October 2022), despite the decrease in commercial air traffic. The cause of this is twofold, namely the unforeseen increase of the trauma helicopter and the persistent easterly wind.

Measures taken have contributed to fewer commercial aircraft movements

Due to the above-average frequency of north and east winds, more use has been made of landings in a northeasterly direction. This concerns the noise enforcement point on the Schiedam side. The airport has done everything it can to avoid exceeding the noise space. For example, RTHA introduced runway control in May and requested Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) and users to comply with this, in order to compensate for extreme runway use by north and east winds. In 2019 and 2020, runway control was sufficient to prevent an exceedance. In addition, other measures have also been applied, such as banning large lesson traffic and the (re)issuance of slots has been stopped since July 27.

This has led to less commercial traffic in 2022 compared to 2019. At the end of the current year of use, the number of air transport movements of commercial traffic at Rotterdam The Hague Airport will be approximately 1.000 movements lower than in the last 'normal' year of use 2019.

Large increase in trauma helicopter movements

Despite the decrease in commercial air traffic and management measures, there is still a threat of noise being exceeded. This is due to the unforeseen increase in the air ambulance.

The trauma helicopter has started flying considerably more this year than forecast by RTHA (prognosis is based on realization 2019) and has been deployed more often at night. The number of movements of the trauma helicopter has increased by 26% in the past twelve months compared to 2019. As a result of the so-called night penalty factor (which makes flights in the evening and night count more heavily), the contribution of this segment in the noise calculations has increased by 42% compared to 2019. compared to operating year XNUMX.

RTHA endorses the importance of the trauma helicopter's presence at the airport and the indispensable role it plays in the region and therefore advocates splitting the joint noise space as soon as possible. RTHA has no insight into the prognoses of the trauma helicopter and cannot control this traffic.

Possible solution

Rotterdam The Hague Airport has done everything it can to stay within the noise space and will continue to make efforts to prevent an exceedance. However, the combination of easterly wind and the increase in the air ambulance, especially at night, remains a point of attention. Since 2005, RTHA has been arguing for separating the noise space from regular airport traffic (which can be controlled by the airport) and the trauma helicopter (which can only be controlled by the government), as included in the Aviation Memorandum and prepared in the Aviation Act. This must now be done as quickly as possible, because then commercial air traffic can be properly maintained.

Next steps

RTHA regrets this unfortunate combination of circumstances and the nuisance that may be experienced by local residents and will discuss this situation with the relevant ministries.

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