Date of Award

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Science

First Advisor

Dr.Munjed Maraqa

Second Advisor

Dr,Alex Friess

Third Advisor

Dr.Yaser Afifi Greish

Abstract

The aviation industry in UAE has experienced rapid expansion over the past decade due to increase in economic growth and technological advancements. UAE’s total fiscal investment on airport development over the coming 20 years is estimated to exceed Dh 71 billion (US$19.35 billion). Civil aviation now a day is considered one of the greatest environmental concerns which lead to many different environmental problems. The International Aviation Organization (ICAO) secretariat considered aircraft noise as the most significant cause of adverse community reaction relating to the operation and expansion of airports. This is expected to remain the case in most regions of the world for the foreseeable future.

Dubai International Airport (DIA) was established in 1959. The site was chosen not just for its proximity to town but also with future expansion in mind. Since 1992 the growth rate of incoming aircraft at DIA has been exponential, and the airport capacity has doubled between 1980 and 2001. Aircraft movement is further expected to increase in the next 20 years with the already constructed new terminal. The negative impacts of noise resulting from airport operations are known and documented globally. However, a difficulty arise in predicting the variations and changes in airport operations and aircraft noise.

The specific objectives of this study were to assess the noise exposure levels, contour the noise profile within the surroundings of DIA, and depict long-term future noise exposure.

Field measurements of aircraft noise were undertaken close to the runway 12L/30R end point as well at 7 key locations in the vicinity of DIA. The aircraft noise was modeled using the Integrated Noise Model (INM) which is developed by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to simulate the current and future noise levels based on steady increase in flight operation. A future annual growth rate of 10.3% till the end of 2010 and 3.5% till the end of 2015 was used based on feedback from local authorities.

The local order 61/1991 of the Emirate of Dubai states that “noise level should not exceed 55 dBA between 7:00 am and 8:00 pm and between 8:00 pm and 7:00 am”. Values for community noise set by WHO state that the equivalent noise level for outdoor living area should not exceed 55 dBA. Noise measurement in the vicinity of DIA shows that equivalent noise level varies from 45-65.1 dBA during normal flight hours and from 43.8 – 69.4 dBA during busy flight hours. Also, there was a reduction in the noise level by almost 8 dBA between day and night time measurements. Measured noise level in the vicinity of the airport were close to those predicted under the current conditions.

Predicted noise level at the end of 2010 at Al Rashidiya and Mirdif are 62.3 and 65.2 dBA, respectively. The predicted noise level at the end of 2015 at the two community locations will rise to 63 and 69.5 dBA, respectively. Hence, the noise under current and future flight conditions is 7-11 dBA higher (especially at night) than the regulatory limits at certain locations surrounding DIA.

Mitigations scenarios were stimulated to develop guidance and mitigation measures to minimize aircraft noise impact in the vicinity of DIA. This was achieved by utilizing the runway end usages and considering wind direction. Results of the mitigated cases lead to change in noise contour and shapes and reductions of the noise level at the most affected areas like Al Khabaisi). The results also illustrated a reduction in the noise level by 3-8 dBA at Mirdif and Al Rashidiya.

The second objective of the study was to assess the impact of aircraft noise from DIA on the surrounding community by conducting an individual noise survey at seven areas with consideration of distance and population density. A total of 172 respondents filled the distributed questionnaire. About 78% of the respondents were annoyed by the noise level due to aircraft movement art DIA, mainly in the areas which are in line with the flight path. There is also a difference in the percentage of people annoyed among the surveyed areas due to the differences in the distance from the airport as well as the location within the path of the runway and the flight tracks. The most affected areas based on respondents’ input were Al Tawar and Mirdif.

Finally several recommendation were presented by studying airports mitigation procedures, plans and legislations and considering the respondents suggestions. The noise abatement was one of the most recommended procedures by ICAO Committee on Aviation Environment Protection (CAEP). Thus, noise abatement procedures are used to redistribute the noise produced during the flight to alleviate the impact of noise on the most sensitive areas. Changing runways and routes, special noise abatement maneuvers during take-off and approach, reduces the number of people exposed to noise at specific areas around airports.

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