Skip to main content

Noise Overview

An overview of noise at Stansted Airport

Noise Overview

For those living closest to the airport, aircraft noise can be disruptive. London Stansted has a long-term aim and commitment to manage, and reduce where possible, the effects of aircraft noise on our local communities. Our track record in reducing the size of our noise footprint, despite the airport's ongoing growth, continues to reflect best practice.

This year, Stansted Airport has worked with our operators to increase the number of aircrafts using satellite navigation technology to fly our departure routes more accurately. Performance Based Navigation (PBN) has enabled aircraft to follow the centre line of the departure route, reducing the number of people directly overflown on two of our flight paths by 85%. In addition, in response to community feedback regarding helicopter operations, changes were made to published routing instructions to avoid overflight of particular areas. This involved working collaboratively with our based helicopter operators, National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and our local communities.

Throughout this process, we have created frequent opportunities to meet directly with our local communities; hosting meetings, discussions and Q&A’s between local residents and relevant staff to ensure our local stakeholders’ concerns are taken into consideration wherever possible.

We take special care to make sure that the noise produced by our runways, and the airport in general, doesn't disturb the surrounding area. Here are a few things we do to make sure everything is kept as quiet as possible:

Runway direction

London Stansted airport has one runway however wind direction dictates which end of the runway operates at any one time. In general, runway 22 (southwesterly) operates around 70% of the time however this can vary considerably month to month.

Arrival & Departure maps

Click here to find a list of maps tracking arrivals and departures >

Arriving aircraft

Unlike departures there are no set flight paths for arriving aircraft. 

Click here to find out more >

Departing aircraft

Departing aircraft must follow one of six initial flight paths known as Noise Preferential Routes (NPR’s) until they have reached a minimum height.

Click here to find out more >

Night flights

London Stansted Airport operates 24 hours a day. There are, however, specific regulations and restrictions around night flights.

Click here to find out more >


If you have noticed an aircraft following an unusual course, it could be a go-around. 

Click here to find out more >

Holding stacks

When airports are busy, there can be a build-up of aircraft waiting to land. A stack is a fixed circling pattern in which aircraft fly while they wait to land.

Click here to find out more >

Cargo operations

The movement of freight is vital supporting economic growth.  Stansted is the second largest London airport transporting cargo into and out of the UK.

Click here to find out more >


Helicopter operations at London Stansted airport are a daily occurrence.

Click here to find out more >

Ground Noise

If you live very close to the airport you may hear noise from aircraft that are still on the ground

Click here to find out more >

Legal Framework

There are four main tiers of regulation which govern aircraft noise in the UK

Click here to find out more >

Noise Performance

View our Noise Performance data here. 

Click here to find out more >