• Enlarge text
  • Print this page

Noise From Specific Operations

London Stansted has developed a suite of  information fact sheets to help explain to the local community  the complex factors that can make up aircraft track-keeping and impact the levels of aircraft noise.  They cover the following topics - click on the links below each section to access the relevant factsheet.

Departing aircraft

All jet aircraft and most propeller-driven aircraft departing from London Stansted Airport follow initial flight paths, known as Noise Preferential Routes (NPRs). The NPRs at London Stansted were set by the Department for Transport in 1989. The routes were designed so that aircraft avoided flying over the larger populated areas until they had reached a minimum height.

Departures factsheet (162KB PDF)

[Back to top]

Arriving aircraft

Unlike departing aircraft there are no fixed flight paths for arriving aircraft until they are established on the Instrument Landing System (ILS), also known as the final approach. There are also no fixed noise limits or fixed heights.

Arrivals factsheet (133KB PDF)

[Back to top]

Night flights

Since 1962, in response to increasing community concern about noise, the UK Government has tightened the rules on night flights. However, the Government allows night flights because it sees them as being important for the well-being of the airline and travel industries as well as important for the UK economy as a whole.

Night flights factsheet (133KB PDF)

[Back to top]

Go arounds

The go around procedure is adopted when an arriving aircraft on final approach aborts landing by applying take off power and climbing away from the airport. It is a set procedure to be followed by the flight crew in the event of an aircraft being unable to land.

Go around factsheet (111KB PDF)

[Back to top]

Holding stacks

A stack is fixed circling pattern in which aircraft fly whilst they wait to land.  When airports are busy, there can be a build up of aircraft waiting to land. The primary use of an aircraft stack is to delay an arriving aircraft due to aircraft congestion, sometimes due to poor weather conditions (e.g. snow clearing) or runway unavailability.

Holding stacks factsheet (175KB PDF)

[Back to top]

Cargo operations

Stansted is the second largest London airport transporting cargo into and out of the UK, with a growing number of industry leaders operating from the airport.  The movement of freight is vital to supporting economic growth with more than 200,000 tonnes of cargo being transported through Stansted each year.

Cargo factsheet (2.5MB PDF)

[Back to top]

Ground noise

If you live very close to the airport you may hear noise from aircraft that are still on the ground. Unlike the noise limits that apply to departing aircraft, there are no limits on other sources of noise that originate from the airport. However, at London Stansted we recognise the importance that the interests of the local community are taken into account.  

Ground noise factsheet (113KB PDF)

[Back to top]


Helicopter operations at London Stansted are a daily occurrence and, as with fixed wing aircraft operations, they conform to many operating restrictions, industry codes of best practice and legislation relating to their safe operation. The airport does not have access to any helicopter flight track data, but if you have been disturbed by a helicopter movement that you feel is related to London Stansted, we will be able to confirm if this is the case and, if so, we'll log and record your complaint details accordingly. 

Helicopter factsheet (138KB PDF)

[Back to top]

Legal framework

There are four main tiers of regulation which govern aircraft noise in the UK: International, European, National and local.

Legal framework factsheet (201KB PDF)

[Back to top]

Can't find what you're looking for?

We hope that our dedicated section of the website for noise provides answers to all the possible questions you may have.  However, if you can't find what you're looking for, we'd like to hear from you.

Contact the airport with a noise enquiry

Track a flight

Map showing the airport and a flight track over the local community

Follow a flight's path over your area.

Launch WebTrak service

London Stansted Airport Escape Lounge