Tallinners unhappy about increased noise from airport traffic

Passenger jet over Tallinn Airport.
Passenger jet over Tallinn Airport. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Last year, 50 flights a day departed from Tallinn Airport, but now the number has risen to 97. The increase in air traffic is also accompanied by more noise, which is a concern for Tallinn residents, particularly in the Kristiine district, who in some cases complain, that they can't get to sleep before 3 a.m.

Jaanus Riibe, a senior member of the community in Tallinn's Kristiine district, said that people got used to the silence during the pandemic, and that makes them more sensitive to the recent increase in noise levels.

"The altitude of the planes landing over Kristiine is already quite low, so you can hear the noise as well as see the planes on a daily basis. I actually agree with residents' concerns. At the moment when the planes are flying over, the noise level seems high, and generally people raise these kinds of when they are spending more time at home," said Riibe.

In order to solve the noise problem, Riibe believes current flight altitudes, directions and corridors should be reviewed.

"No aircraft (should be) allowed to fly less than 300 meters above Tallinn, except during take-off, landing or in exceptional circumstances. I think this should be strictly enforced and special permission should not be granted lightly," said Riibe.

However, Üllar Salumäe, management board member of Estonian Air Navigation Services (EANS), explained, that air traffic controllers primarily choose the direction of flights depending on the wind conditions, to ensure take-off and landing procedures are always performed in a controlled manner.

"Corridors can be changed, but this would require moving the airport. The problem is that passenger and cargo planes are not capable of vertical take-off, so they have to fly low over the airfield after take-off and before landing, which creates noise."

However, moving the airport is not an option and, so the noise problem is likely to be permanent.

"There's not much you can do about it. At least nothing that would allow the airport to continue to functioning normally," said Salumäe.

Residents affected by noise from Tallinn Airport are advised to contact the Kristiine district and local authorities.


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