Virgin Atlantic has today become the first ever airline to be awarded the prestigious Quiet Mark certification, for its new fleet of Boeing 787-9s. Recognising the aircraft’s quiet credentials, the Quiet Mark has been awarded to Virgin Atlantic for the 787 as it has a much smaller noise footprint than any other commercial aircraft in the skies – approximately 60% smaller than aircraft of a comparable size.

Sir Richard Branson’s airline has recently taken delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 with 16 due to join the fleet by 2018. The new aircraft will play a large part in helping the airline achieve its robust noise targets set out in our first Aircraft Noise Management Strategy published in November 2013. Key elements include a target to reduce our noise output by 75% on a per aircraft movement basis, and working with industry to explore new operating techniques and procedures. Virgin has also pledged to develop its engagement with local communities around key airports.

Jill Brady, Director of People and External Affairs at Virgin Atlantic said: “We’re really pleased to have been awarded a Quiet Mark as recognition for the 787-9’s quiet credentials.
The Boeing 787 really leads the way for noise reduction across our fleet and the aircraft will be key in achieving the industry-leading commitments we have set ourselves in our first Aircraft Noise Management Strategy published last autumn.

As an airline we are working hard to reduce our impacts on the environment and the communities where we operate. We’re excited about what the 787 is going to achieve for us in terms of our sustainability goals.”

Poppy Szkiler, managing director, Quiet Mark, comments: “At Quiet Mark our role is to commend, support and encourage any initiative that aspires to reduce excessive and harmful noise. We recognise that aircraft noise is a deep concern affecting many lives, so welcome Virgin Atlantic’s introduction of their 787-9 Dreamliner Fleet, a significant step towards providing quieter aircraft operations.

“The Quiet Mark is awarded following certified noise data assessment carried out by Quiet Mark’s accredited acoustic experts, confirming the 787-9 Dreamliner to be noticeably quieter than any other jet airliner operational at the time of the test. We look forward to working with Virgin Atlantic to further reduce unwanted noise and help to create a more peaceful environment to improve quality of life."

Quiet Mark is a not-for-profit organisation that is uniquely positioned to work with brands, consumers and Government to drive awareness, and support the reduction of noise-related issues. The distinctive purple Quiet Mark symbol is awarded following rigorous testing and approval from accredited acoustic experts, including the Association of Noise Consultants. This award marks the first time it has been given to the aviation industry.

When reviewing the 787-9, The Quiet Mark assessors concluded it is the quietest aircraft in the fleet when tested on flyover, lateral and approach. It was also considered noticeably quieter than any other jets operational at Heathrow on observation.

The aircraft uses a number of innovative features to smooth noise-making turbulent air such as ‘scallop’ shaped engine cowlings, and redesigned wing tips. Its Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines are considerably quieter than other jet engines. The composite primary structure of the aircraft means it is more durable and insensitive to corrosion along with reducing airframe noise.