Aircraft Noise Exposure Around MSP Airport Shrinks in 2019

Annual aircraft noise analysis results show an overall decrease in aircraft noise exposure from flight activity at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) in 2019.

The decrease is a result of fewer flights, a reduction in nighttime flight activity, and quieter aircraft. The analysis is published in the MSP 2019 Annual Noise Contour Analysis Report.

There were 406,073 takeoffs and landings at MSP in 2019 compared to 406,913 in 2018. The 2019 figure represents the second fewest annual flights at MSP in more than 25 years, as airlines continue to shift toward larger aircraft with more seats so they can serve more passengers with fewer flights.

Despite these lower flight numbers, MSP set an all-time passenger record in 2019 with 39.6 million passengers. This is an increase of nearly 4 percent compared to 2018. Many of those passengers traveled on new, quieter aircraft. For example, there were 2,400 Airbus A320-NEO (New Engine Option) operations in 2019, and nearly 1,200 operations of the Airbus A220-100 aircraft. These and other advanced aircraft types are designed to reduce noise and emissions, and airlines are purchasing them to replace older, less efficient aircraft.

"Airline efforts to increase efficiency, serving more passengers with fewer flights and replacing aging aircraft with quieter, more efficient models, are providing significant benefit to the community," said Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) CEO Brian Ryks. "We continue to work with the Federal Aviation Administration, airlines and community representatives to identify opportunities to reduce noise impacts."

Reduced flight activity and quieter aircraft contributed to a reduction in the noise contour around MSP, with 11,082 acres in the 2019 60 dB DNL noise contour--a decrease of 2.1 percent form 2018. Similarly, the 2019 65 dB DNL noise contour, at 4,384 acres, is 1.3 percent smaller than in 2018. (The Federal Aviation Administration uses decibel day-night level--dB DNL--as a measure of aircraft noise around U.S. airports. The measure gives a higher noise weighting to flights that occur at night.)

While there is an overall reduction in the size of the 2019 noise contours around MSP, the size and shape of contours in specific locations varies from year to year due to changes to frequency of runways used, aircraft types flown, the actual time flights arrived or departed, and the number of flights that used MSP.

The MAC administers the most comprehensive noise mitigation program of any airport system in the United States. Since 1992, the MSP Residential Noise Mitigation Program has provided mitigation to more than 15,639 single-family homes, nearly 3,300 multi-family units and 19 schools at a total cost approaching $500 million. The program provides sound insulation for residences surrounding MSP in noise exposure areas of 60 dB DNL and greater, which is beyond the federal mitigation standard of 65 dB DNL.

Visit the MAC Noise Program Office website to view the 2019 Annual Noise Contour Analysis or to view the MAC Noise Mitigation Program criteria: