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Year : 2002  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 15  |  Page : 45--55

Complaints and annoyance caused by aircraft operations: Temporal patterns and individual bias

Departments of Biological Sciences and Environmental & Geographical Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Ken Hume
Dept of Biological Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chester St, Manchester, M1 5GD
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 12678948

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The impact of aircraft movements on annoyance in the local community surrounding a major international airport was assessed for (a) patterns of complaints for the year, month, day-of­ the-week and time-of-day and (b) the frequency of complaining by individuals. Complaint data from Manchester Airport since 1991 and detailed analysis for 1998 were compared with associated information on noise monitoring and aircraft movements to investigate underlying biological and sociological patterns. The annual number of complaints peaked in 1996 when the 'Manchester Airport Second Runway Public Inquiry' was a major local issue and had a high profile in the local media. Since 1996 the number of flights has increased while the number of complaints has steadily fallen; from 50 to13 complaints per 1,000 movements from 1996 to 1999. Detailed inspection of the 1998 data revealed a total of 2072 noise complaints from 594 individuals but, while the majority of individuals complained once or twice, three individuals accounted for 41% of complaints. This introduced some bias into the results but there was; (a) a steady increase in complaints (per 1,000 movements) over the week from a low on Monday to a high on Saturday/Sunday; (b) a marked hourly variation over the 24 hours in both flight frequency (movements per hour) and complaints. However, the hourly patterns in flight frequency and complaints were clearly distinct. Calculations of the complaints per aircraft movement (a reflection of sensitivity) for each hour of the day showed a striking 24h pattern with twice as many complaints between 23.00 and 07.00 as the rest of the day (07.00­23.00). Late evening and night-time, particularly during the early hours of sleep, was the time of greatest sensitivity to aircraft, with or without the serial complainers. These results could be used to inform airport operations to minimize community disturbance.


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