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One person filed over 23k complaints about aircraft noise at Dublin Airport last year

A single individual was responsible for almost 90% of complaints about noise, with a daily average of 64 complaints a day.

ONE INDIVIDUAL WAS responsible for almost 90% of all complaints about noise from aircraft using Dublin Airport last year – filing a daily average of 64 incidents with the airport operator, DAA.

The serial complainant, who had been reporting claims of excessive noise from aircraft taking off and landing at Dublin Airport on almost a daily basis since 2019, lodged a total of 23,431 complaints in 2022.

In one month alone – July 2022 – the individual, whose is believed to live in the north-west Dublin suburb of Ongar, made a total of 2,616 complaints to DAA, representing a daily average of 84 incidents of aircraft noise.

New figures published by DAA show a total of 26,196 complaints about noise from aircraft using Dublin Airport were recorded during 2022 – up 93% on the previous year with almost 13,000 additional reports.

While the figures are skewed by the large number of complaints from one individual, there was still an increase in the overall level of complaints by residents which has been linked to a combination of an overall increase in aircraft movements following the easing of restrictions around the Covid-19 pandemic and the opening of the new €320m North Runway.

Excluding reports from the serial complainant, the number of complaints from other members of the public still more than doubled from 1,296 in 2021 to 2,765 last year.

There was also a threefold increase in the number of unique individuals who complained about aircraft noise to DAA during 2022 – a total of 608 compared to 174 in 2021.

The figures show a spike in the number of people making complaints after the new runway opened in late August with over 900 cases reported by 192 individuals in September.

The September figures compared to the monthly average last year of 230 complaints being filed by 76 individuals.

Most complaints came from residents of Kinsealy, Portmarnock, Swords, Dunboyne and Malahide and related to flights taking off at night.

However, the exact number of complaints relating to aircraft using the North Runway is unclear as separate figures have still to be collated by DAA.

The airport operator confirmed earlier this year that flights departing from the North Runway would be rerouted after residential areas were “unexpectedly overflown.”

Following a review undertaken in consultation with the Irish Aviation Authority after a large number of complaints about aircraft noise, airport management said departure flight paths would be reversed to align more closely with the original planned route.

The proposed changes are due to come into effect on 23 February.

DAA acknowledged that an issue about flight path had been identified after the runway became operational which resulted in some local communities being overflown.

The issue had generated significant controversy in communities in north Dublin affected by such flights and led to a large protest outside Fingal County Council in December.

The figures also include 31 complaints about noise from ground operations at Dublin Airport last year, with most cases being filed by residents living in Swords and Santry.

According to DAA, a wide variety of commercial aircraft use Dublin Airport ranging from smaller turboprop aircraft to wide-body jets like the Boeing 777.

However, the majority of movements involve medium-sized jets with the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 series aircraft accounting for more than 66% of the total.

DAA’s Noise and Flight Track Monitoring System, which uses seven fixed noise monitoring terminals around north Dublin, shows the vast majority of commercial flights using Dublin Airport adhere to designated flight paths on approach and take-off.

Under a noise management plan, aircraft taking off from Dublin Airport should adhere to a “noise preferential route” – a flight path designed to avoid overflight of built-up areas where possible – and maintain a straight course for five nautical miles or reach an altitude of 3,000 feet before commencing a turn.

A DAA spokesperson declined to comment on the latest figures.

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Seán McCárthaigh
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