Developments in aircraft design

In recent years Auckland Airport has experienced growth in passenger numbers, but the number of flights is not increasing at the same rate. That’s because planes are getting bigger, and carrying more people.


Jet engine innovations

Innovations, like the bypass engine, have helped make aircraft much quieter than they were 40 years ago. And today’s aircraft are likely to be replaced by even quieter models in the future. Boeing says its B787 Dreamliner aircraft has a 60 percent smaller noise footprint, than the models it replaces. Airbus reports its new A350XWB has exterior noise levels as much as 21 EPNdB, or effective perceived noise decibels, below the current international aviation noise standards.

Watch a video showing the noise difference between older and more modern aircraft.


While individual aircraft have become quieter over time, the growth in travel, trade and tourism, combined with bigger populations and higher housing density, means more planes are flying today and aircraft may be more noticeable to the community.

The number of aircraft using Auckland Airport is expected to continue growing, so the aviation industry is focused on managing aircraft noise in a socially responsible way.

A recent example of this is Air New Zealand and Airbus working together to cover small cavities on the underside of each wing of an A320 aircraft. The attachments are retrofitted to the aircraft and reduce noise when the aircraft is approaching the airport and approximately 16 – 40 kilometres away from the runway.

View aircraft using Auckland Airport

View aircraft using Auckland Airport

Use our online tool to view aircraft traffic through Auckland Airport

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