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Program Description

The purpose of the San Diego International Airport’s (SDIA) Fly Quiet Program is to encourage commercial operators to operate as quietly as possible in the San Diego area by acknowledging those operators that attempt to follow the noise abatement goals of the airport. The program creates a participatory atmosphere of the operators working with the airport and community to actively reduce noise by grading an operator’s performance and by making the scores available to the public. The Fly Quiet Program offers a dynamic venue for reviewing noise abatement initiatives by praising and publicizing active participation rather than a system that admonishes violations from essentially voluntary procedures.


Currently, the Fly Quiet Program scores commercial operators on three elements: Fleet Quality, Noise Exceedance, and Curfew Violations. The higher the score, the quieter the operator is flying in and out of SDIA.

Fleet Noise Quality:

The Fleet (or type of aircraft an operator uses) Noise Quality score evaluates the noise contribution of each operator’s fleet as it actually operates at SDIA. Operators generally own a variety of aircraft types and schedule them according to both operational and marketing considerations. The Fly Quiet Program assigns a higher rating or grade to operators operating quieter, new generation aircraft, while operators operating older, louder technology aircraft would rate lower. The goal of this measurement is to fairly compare operators – not just by the fleet they own, but by the frequency that they schedule and fly particular aircraft into SDIA.

The method used here bases an operator’s Fleet Noise Quality Rating on established by the FAA’s 14 CFR Part 36 noise certification data. For each aircraft type, Part 36 specifies allowable noise levels at three measurement locations: approach, departure, and sideline. Part 36 allowable noise limits increase with weight, so that larger aircraft, serving more passengers, are not penalized as compared to smaller types. The rating method for the Fleet Noise Quality rating totals the difference between each aircraft’s certified noise levels at all three measuring points and the Stage 3 standard for that weight and number of engines. Aircraft with the greatest number of decibels below Stage 3 threshold are rated the best. Similar to and consistent with Part 36, the Fleet Noise Quality Rating allows for higher noise levels for larger aircraft. It is important to credit larger aircraft serving more passengers because they offer more air service in fewer flights and less total noise than multiple operations in smaller aircraft types.

Nighttime Fleet Quality

For the 2023 Fly Quiet Report, a new nighttime fleet quality element has been introduced. This metric was implemented at the request of ANAC to encourage the use of the quietest aircraft available in the industry between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., including the departure peak that begins at 6:30 a.m.

Noise Exceedance:

Eliminating loud aircraft noise events is a long-standing goal of the Airport, as a result, the Airport has established an element that identifies the loudest aircraft operating at SDIA. The arrival and departure exceedances are captured at Daytime, Evening, and Nighttime levels. 

The locations of the Noise Monitoring Terminals (NMT’s) where exceedances are captured are as followed:

  • NMT #2 - Approximately 3.5-nautical miles (6.5km) along the departure path east of the airport. 
  • NMT #14 - Approximately 3.5-nautical miles (6.5km) along the departure path west of the airport, for straight-out departures. 
  • NMT #24 - Approximately 3.5-nautical miles (6.5km) along the departure corridor northwest of the airport, for right turn departures.

The Noise Exceedance Score for each operator is determined by adding the different categories of noise exceedances together and adjusting them to the number of operations to generate a score of up to ten (10) points. The current threshold settings are 90 dB for daytime departures (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.), 85 dB in the evening hours (7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.), and 80 dB during nighttime hours (10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.).

Curfew Violations:

SDIA has an existing curfew violations system in place as part of the Airport Use Regulations that may result in a monetary fine if an operator violates the curfew. An operator that does not log any curfew violations during the time period is automatically assigned a score of ten (10) points. If the Airport’s Curfew Violation Review Panel determines that a flight violated curfew and will be penalized, the score will be adjusted by subtracting two (2) points. If the Airport’s Curfew Violation Review Panel determines that a flight violated curfew and will not be penalized, the score will be adjusted by subtracting one (1) additional point. 


Fly Quiet Program Report

Fly Quiet Program Report Archive

Last Modified 7/5/2024 4:18 PM
Created 6/7/2024 2:34 PM