ASA brands Boeing “untruthful” over claim the 787 Dreamliner will be 60% quieter

9.1.2008   (HACAN press release)

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint by a London
resident over Boeing’s claims in a recent advertisement that the new 787 Dreamliner,
which is due to go into service later this year, will be “60% quieter than ever
before”.  (1)   The ruling comes barely a week after British Airways announced that
it had finalised an order for 24 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

The planes are valued at up to $4.4bn, and BA has an option for 18 more and purchase
rights for an additional 10. (2)

The ruling also comes half way through the Government’s consultation on Heathrow
expansion in which Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly is basing her claim that a 50%
increase in flights numbers by 2020 will lead to a reduction in noise levels on
an expectation that new aircraft will be significantly quieter. (3)

The ASA ruled that the advertisement was untruthful and ‘likely to mislead’ because
it would lead people to believe that there would be a 60% reduction in noise levels
as the plane came overhead.   In fact, there would only be a 3 decibel reduction
in noise levels which is ‘barely perceptible’ to people on the ground.   Boeing
had based its claim that its new 787 would be 60% quieter than the existing Boeing
767 on the noise footprint of the aircraft.   The ASA found that this was misleading.

The complaint was brought by a resident living under the Heathrow flight paths
who wants to remain anonymous.   But John Stewart, chair of HACAN, which campaigns
against Heathrow expansion, said: “This is the great victory for the little man.
But the verdict won’t surprise local residents who for decades have lived with
broken promises from the aviation industry.”

Stewart added, “This ruling could not be more timely.   Ruth Kelly is basing her
claims that massive expansion can take place at Heathrow without the noise climate
getting worse on the assumption that aircraft are going to become significantly
quieter.   Few people believe her.   After today’s ruling people will be even more

“It also takes the shine off BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh’s statement that
‘The 787 is a fantastic aircraft and will be a welcome addition to our fleet.
It will provide major environmental improvements in terms of global emissions,
local air quality and noise.’ ”

Notes for Editors:




(1). ASA ruling    – the full adjudication


(2).   The announcement was made on 27th December.




(3). Despite the huge increase in flights, Ruth Kelly said those affected by noise
pollution would fall from 274,000 in 2015 to 242,000 in 2020 and 205,000 in 2030.