Airbus and General Electric have completed a noise reduction programme launched two years ago to meet new demands in noise sensitive regions. The programme concerned more particularly the A300B4 powered by General Electric's CF6-50 engines and was performed in cooperation with Airbus customers.
The A300B4 is currently certified under Chapter 3 noise regulations. In June 2004, a leased A300B4 aircraft, equipped with the different aerodynamic modifications available today, performed a series of test flights to check if it could achieve Chapter 4 noise values as these will be required by airworthiness authorities for all new aircraft type certificates issued after 1st of January 2006.
Test results showed a further cumulative noise reduction of around 2 epndB, making the aircraft compliant with Chapter 4 noise level requirements. This means that although many A300B4s are not legally required to comply with the new regulation, they can be operated in airports with strict noise restriction as they will in fact be compliant with the new requirements.
In addition, further engine modifications are under study at General Electric.
This set of improvements will apply particularly to the A300B4F freighter models, more than 70 units of which are currently in revenue service.
The A300B4-100/200 conversion programme was the first one ever launched by Airbus for large freighter aircraft back in the early 1990s. More than 50 per cent of the initial production has been converted to date. The aircraft, one of the first Airbus models, remains in the mainstream of business, particularly in the more demanding area of night cargo operations, after more than 30 years in passenger and cargo service.
This achievement highlights Airbus' commitment to continue to support and improve its products even after the production lines have closed to keep offering its operators best value for money.