Airlines at Heathrow are using more and more quieter planes according to the latest results of the airport’s Fly Quiet league.

The table which ranks airlines’ noise performance every quarter, revealed a trend towards quieter, newer aircraft, between October and December 2015, with airlines such as Virgin Atlantic making huge changes to their fleet and ranking.

The transition from using noisy Boeing 747s to the ultra quiet Boeing Dreamliners saw Richard Branson’s carrier move up 10 places in the league table, from 28 in Q3 2015 to 18 in Q4 2015.

Other airlines making big strides in their noise performance levels included Icelandair which jumped up 15 places, from 29 to 14, following an improvement in its Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) performance. It now stands in the top 20% of quiet performers.

Finnair moved up eight places based on a combination of quieter landing approach and less noisy aircraft operating at Heathrow; while Etihad Airways rose to third place in the table largely down to its track keeping - the ability of their aircraft to remain within the noise preferential routes.

British Airways short haul and Aer Lingus retained their first and second ranking.

Rank

Airline – Q3 2015

Airline – Q4 2015

1

British Airways – short haul

British Airways – short haul

2

Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus

3

Virgin Atlantic Little Red

Etihad Airways

4

Qantas Airways

American Airlines

5

American Airlines

Emirates

6

Scandinavian Airlines System

Qantas Airways

7

Emirates

Scandinavian Airlines System

8

Etihad Airways

United Airlines

9

Air Malta

Delta Air Lines

10

Delta Air Lines

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s director of sustainability and environment, said: “Every day, behind the scenes, our team is working directly with airlines to find new ways to make Heathrow quieter, sooner so we can be a better neighbour.

“Our approach is yielding results. In fact, airlines operate aircraft at Heathrow that are now 15% quieter than their global fleet.

“This, along with our drive towards quieter operating procedures, has meant Heathrow is now quieter than it’s ever been at any time since the 1970s.”

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Sir Richard Branson in one of the the new 787 Dreamliners (Pic: Getty Images)

The Fly Quiet league table is published four times a year and compares the top 50 airlines, according to the number of flights to and from Heathrow per year, across six different noise metrics.

The latest data recorded the largest single jump in scores tracking the use of quieter aircraft since the start of the Fly Quiet programme two years ago.

On average, scores tracking aircrafts’ noise certifications improved by 8%, compared to the last quarter (June – September 2015) and at the same point last year (October to December 2014).

Noise certifications are used to determine an aircraft’s noise performance against the International Civil Aviation Organisations’ noise targets and to recognise “best in class” quiet technology.

Heathrow charges 10 times more to fly older planes into the airport to deter airlines from operating noisier aircraft and instead encourage a move towards flying newer, quieter planes.