Towns near Prague’s Václav Havel Airport seek a ban on night flights

A group called Prague Airport Region says the nightly airplane noise is harmful to health and should be stopped. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 30.06.2023 07:30:00 (updated on 29.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Residents of some municipalities near Václav Havel Airport in Prague want night flights to be canceled due to the noise from planes landing and taking off. During the summer months, the amount of nighttime air traffic increases due to people going on vacations, as well as higher levels of arrivals of tourists.

An association of municipalities near the airport is now demanding it be closed between midnight and six in the morning. The group calls itself Prague Airport Region (PAR).

Prague Airport is the name of the company that operates Václav Havel Airport, which has also long planned to open another runway, which would increase the amount of traffic in the daytime. Airport spokesperson Klára Divíšková told Czech Radio that the airport is considering canceling night arrivals and departures when the additional runway is commissioned. Construction, though, has not yet started and residents of the nearby communities don’t want to wait for it.

Night noise is detrimental to health

Mayors of these municipalities met with airport authorities at the end of May to express their concerns and demand a ban on night flights already.

“The airport is doing well and returning to pre-Covid profitability. That is why, as representatives of municipalities, we are still opening the issue of canceling night flights during the so-called ‘core night,'” Hostivice Mayor Klára Čápová said on Facebook. The core night would cover the hours between midnight and 6 a.m.

In a press release, PAR stated that the World Health Organization (WHO) points out that excessive noise had a detrimental impact on health, and that the WHO specifically said that noise over 40 decibels (dB) at night was harmful. Currently, the airport complies with a legal limit of 50 dB.

“Night flights in the densely populated area around the Prague airport are considered by the surrounding municipalities to be an unreasonable risk to the health of their residents,” PAR said in its press release.

The group argues that other European airports with a similar design manage to do without night fights, and gave Vienna, Warsaw, Berlin, and Munich as examples.

A ban on noisier aircraft

Prague Airport on June 23 announced that after meeting with representatives of Prague 6 – not a part of the PAR group – they would take some steps to reduce noise.

"Prague Airport will, based on the practical experience of other European airports, maintain certain procedures in order to reduce noise from aircraft carriage. This is, for example, the elimination of older and noisy types of aircraft from operation and the authorization of night operations at Václav Havel Prague Airport only to the quietest types of aircraft that meet the limits set in the International Convention on Civil Aviation and in the specific regulation L16," Jiří Pos, chairman of Board of Directors of Prague Airport said in a press release.

This step, though, falls short of the ban on flights in the core night hours that the PAR organization is demanding.

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