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Dubai Airports has announced the phased withdrawal of older generation aircraft that do not conform to international noise and emission standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The initiative, in conjunction with the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, is part of Dubai Airports' corporate social responsibility programme.

ICAO classified Chapter 1 and 2 aircraft will be banned from operating cargo flights at Dubai International from October 31st, 2010 and passenger flights effective March 27th, 2011 consistent with the International Air Transport Association?s (IATA) seasonal schedule change. In order to ensure that operators are not unreasonably affected, Chapter 1 and 2 aircraft will be allowed to continue operations at Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International until April 1st, 2012.

?Limiting noise and emissions is critical to the long term sustainability of aviation,? said Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports. ?This is an incremental step forward in that process. Not only does this programme reduce the airport?s environmental footprint, it does it in a way that respects the business and operational needs of the airlines that serve and provide significant economic and social benefits to our community.?

Dubai Airports has also announced its ?silent airport? project, which will dramatically reduce the number of public announcements made across all three terminals of the airport. Customer research has shown that announcements combined with mandatory security and ad hoc broadcasts, the resulting noise serves more to confuse than inform as passengers become overloaded with information and consequently ?switch off? from hearing their flight call.

?Over the past 10 months we have worked closely with our customer airlines to limit announcements to a maximum of two per flight,? said Griffiths. ?As a result we have cut the number of daily announcements from over 2,000 across all three terminals to less than 700 with no impact on departure performance. If anything passengers can now hear their flight announcements more clearly, and they certainly appreciate the quieter environment.?

Dubai International is the first in the Middle East to implement the ?silent airport? concept.