Airport protests about serious aircraft noise over residential areas near Shanghai Hongqiao

Local authorities in China are considering reducing the number of large airplanes used at Hongqiao Shanghai International Airport, to try to ease noise complaints from nearby residents. This is according to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Hongqiao airport is close to the city center, and there are many residential communities nearby.  Complaints about noise levels began after the airport’s new Terminal 2 was put into use ahead of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Earlier two CPPCC members advised that more large planes be detoured to Shanghai Pudong International Airport to reduce noise levels at Hongqiao. The government’s slow reaction to the problem has caused fierce conflicts between official departments and the people. Some 7,000 others from two communities about 500 meters from the new airport terminal, have taken turns over the past year to protest against the noise at the airport daily.



There are several stories about the issue below:


“Airport noise issue mulled over”

By Chen Xiaoru (Shanghai Daily)

May 21, 2012  (English version of the People’s Daily online)


[The airport appears to be in a very urban area, with what looks like residential areas around it, and at both ends of the runway   Map   It appears that the number of people overflown must be very large.]

Local authorities are considering reducing the number of large airplanes used at Hongqiao International Airport, in a bid to ease excessive noise complaints from nearby residents, Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) members said yesterday.

Shanghai Urban Construction and Communication Commission agreed to look into the matter, in a recent reply to the city’s aviation administration department in charge of large planes at the Hongqiao airport, said CPPCC members Yang Ronghua and DaiJianguo.

According to Yang and Dai, complaints about noise levels began after the airport’s newTerminal 2 was put into use ahead of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. In a proposalearlier this year, the two advised that more large planes be detoured to ShanghaiPudong International Airport to reduce noise levels at Hongqiao.

“Hongqiao airport is close to the city center, and there are many residentialcommunities nearby,” Yang told the Global Times yesterday. “The government’s slowreaction to the problem has caused fierce conflicts between official departments andthe people.”

Nearby resident Liu Rongfang said that he and some 7,000 others from twocommunities about 500 meters from the new airport terminal, have taken turns over thepast year to protest against the noise at the airport daily.

“But nothing has come from our efforts,” he told the Global Times yesterday. “We’re getting tired of protesting, and we’re fed up with officials for ignoring our complaint letters.”

Two years ago, experts from Beijing-based Tsinghua University were invited by the city’s Minhang district government officials to check noise levels in the neighborhoods next to the airport, which resulted in a reading of 81.9 decibels – below the city’s 85-decibel limit permitting relocation privileges as local environmental protection authorities previously told residents, according to Liu.

The standard differed from that issued by the nation’s environmental protection ministry in 2008, which regulates standard noise pollution, saying that the noise should remain below 45 decibels and 35 decibels during the day and night, respectively.


More on Shanghai  Hongqiao airport at


Shanghai Pudong airport, by comparison, is close to the sea




See also

(SHA is Shanghai Hongqiao Airport)

“SHA May Limit Large Aircraft Flight Activities for Noise Abatement”

By Christian Chen, (

May 22, 2012

Aircraft noise pollution in the vicinity of Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) is expected to be eased.

There have been noise abatement policies like no scheduled flight from 0:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. in addition to that the west runway is restricted to take-off. According to Shanghai Urban Construction and Communications Commission (SHUCM), they may request the civil aviation authorities to limit large aircraft activities in the vicinity of SHA.

Joint Proposal from 18 CPPCC Shanghai Municipal Committee Members

Hongqiao Airport, surrounded by residential houses, is only 13 kilometers from the city center and has already merged into the city center area.

Yang Ronghua, Dai Jianguo, and other CPPCC Shanghai Municipal Committee Members, noted that the Hongqiao Airport aircraft movements area just go through the congested residential areas covering Qibao, Hanghua, Jiuting, Jiangqiao. The harsh noise during aircraft take-off and landing has caused tremendous distress to nearby residents.

During this year’s NPC & CPPCC Shanghai, Yang, Dai and 16 other CPPCC members submitted a joint proposal and suggested the competent authorities taking the lead to research and develop related measures and management methods as soon as possible.

As for the ugly truth of lacking a full regulation on airport noise abatement in China, it is recommended to learn from international practices, as well as Hong Kong International Airport noise management methods, such as introducing a proper way of aircraft noise assessment, publishing aircraft noise assessment results, and developing airport noise pollution control laws and regulation to implement the necessary punishment to the excessive noise of aircraft take-off and landing.

At the same time, the proposal also recommends the implementation of noise abatement flight procedures and rearrangement of large aircraft — large long-haul passenger and cargo transport aircraft — to take off and land at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, in order to reduce noise pollution.

Implementation of Reform & Compensation Program

In response to the proposal, SHUCM mentioned that SHA already has the policy for the two runways’ different usage. Under normal conditions, the original Hongqiao Airport runway (east runway) will be used as much as possible for taking off and landing, the new runway (west runway) is used for take-off. Meanwhile, the airport has introduced noise abatement flight procedures. Under the promise of ensuring the safety, aircraft is going to use smaller horsepower (cutting thrust) during taking off.

The reply also said that for some of heavily impacted areas, particularly in residential communities, Shanghai has begun the implementation of the “housing reconstruction” and “market transfer compensation” programs. In other existing noise-impacted areas, the joint working group will send professional organization to do field test, and give scientific noise assessment of the areas. Program will be developed based on the assessment result. In addition, SHUCM will accept the recommendations from the CPPCC members to request the civil aviation authorities to limit the activities of large aircraft flight in the vicinity of SHA, and establish a flight management system on a regular notification basis.



Aircraft noise compensation offer for residents – Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai.

RESIDENTS who have protested for years about aircraft noise from Hongqiao International Airport have been offered compensation – though officials say this is related only to disturbance from nearby road traffic. Under the deal, 198 households in five buildings in a Huacao Town complex near the airport can receive cash from the real estate developer or be relocated to quieter apartments. Minhang

There is a short  YouTube video

“Elderly protest in Shanghai Hongqiao airport due to the noise”

The airport is too close to their houses and the noise of the airplane is driving them mad. It is good to see more and more people stand out and protest for their rights. An easy and reasonable solution would be the airport company pay them to move. But considering the ridiculously expensive real estate in Shanghai, I think their problem will never be solved.

Also this photo and comment on a blog (August 2011):


I flew into Shanghai’s Hong Qiao airport, which I have done on numerous occasions in the last year. As I arrived into the arrivals lounge I noticed a crowd had gathered and people were shouting out messages with a loud speaker. From what I could make out it was a group of mostly elderly residents. They were complaining about the airport being only 200 metres from their homes. They were shouting out attacks aimed at the government and airport authority but I could understand exactly what they were saying. It’s not uncommon for the elderly to be victims of new developments as their homes are often the first to be demolished when cites redevelop. But it was surprising that the airport let them protest inside the terminal. It reminded me of my elderly parents, who live in a little village near Stansted airport in Hertfordshire. The airport had being to expand and add an additional runway, but the local people protested so I think the plan was stopped. I couldn’t imagine my parents on a sit down protest at the airport. But I was glad to see these people in China given the rights to freely protest and have the freedom to speak out.



August 2011

“Shanghai residents protest to airplane noise.”

RESIDENTS living near Hongqiao International Airport put up banners and flags on their balconies yesterday to protest the new minimum altitude for airplanes.

For about five years, thousands of residents living in Minhang District’s Huacao Town, 3 kilometers from the airport, have endured the loud noise airplanes make as they fly right above their homes every few minutes.

Now with the regional aviation authority releasing news on Wednesday that planes will be allowed to fly at lower altitudes – 7,800 meters as opposed to the previous 8,400 meters – residents fear the noise pollution will worsen.

The angry residents living in the “Golden Xijiao” complex on Beidi Road, Huacao, have even gone door to door asking others to join them in an anti-airport noise campaign to be held tomorrow.

The organizers said they would work in groups to protest the new policy by sitting or sleeping at Hongqiao airport’s Terminal 2 tomorrow.

In response, the regional air traffic authority tried to ease their worries as they said yesterday the policy change would only affect planes on their routes high above the ground and would have almost no impact when planes land.

Many residents said they won’t believe officials until the noise problem is fixed.

“This is murder,” said a 60-year-old resident surnamed Chen. “Some of my neighbors and I have heart diseases and high blood pressure thanks to the noise from airplanes and now they are going to kill us by lowering the flight altitude.”

Chen said the residents feared the lower flight altitude because of an accident that occurred on September 28. He said a cargo plane from Russia almost hit his building as its wheels scratched the rooftop while landing.

More than 200 residents demonstrated that night on Beidi Road, blocking traffic for hours, Chen said.

A man cycles as an airliner flies over head into Hongqiao International airport in Shanghai on January 5, 2012.




Residents protest over airport noise

7..9.2010 (South China Morning Post)

Shanghai:   A crowd of angry Shanghai residents took to the streets yesterday to complain about noise pollution from the increasingly busy Hongqiao International Airport.

Chanting slogans and brandishing laminated photographs of their homes, planes landing at the airport and even portraits of Mao Zedong , the 200-strong demonstration marched on the municipal government in an attempt to meet the city’s top brass.

‘We have been complaining to our local government for months, but they refuse to listen,’ said one retiree, showing copies of letters he had sent to various bodies. ‘We want to meet party secretary Yu Zhengsheng or mayor Han Zheng. That’s all we’re asking for: a chance to be heard.’

Police broke up the unauthorised gathering just before 1pm, bussing most protesters back to their homes – all in two residential complexes next to the airport.

Witnesses said at least two protesters had been detained, and some accused police officers of using excessive force.

‘We were demonstrating peacefully but the police just started hitting people,’ said one protester who, like others involved in the incident, asked not to be named. ‘They even dragged an 80-year-old woman onto a bus, pulling her by her hands and feet. A young student was trying to film the scuffle, but the police arrested him.’

The residents are fighting for compensation and relocation from their homes – in Maosheng Flower Garden and Shashen New Village, two medium-sized residential complexes right at the end of the airport’s runway – because of increased air traffic since the opening of a new terminal and second runway in March.

‘The flights used to stop at midnight, so we could live with that,’ a middle-aged resident said. ‘Since the new terminal opened, there have been planes going over our house every two or three minutes right up to three in the morning. The noise often starts again shortly after 5am, so we can only get about two hours’ sleep a night. Nobody can live like this.’

The two housing estates are only separated from the new runway by a main road – the first houses sit just 200 metres from the tarmac – placing them directly under the flight path for take-offs and landings.

Many residents said they were ‘going crazy’ with the noise – which they feared could soon be constant if the airport started operating around the clock.

‘Our whole house shakes when the planes go over,’ one woman said.

Others claimed they had begun experiencing health problems as a result of the increased noise pollution, ranging from hair loss and mood swings to aggravating heart and kidney conditions.

Parents said they worried that their children’s development was being adversely affected.

A 70-year-old woman, who was one of the most vocal protesters, said she felt basic freedoms were the key issue. ‘The right to food and to sleep are some of the most basic rights of any person,’ she said. ‘You will starve to death if you don’t eat, but sleep deprivation can kill, too.’



CATE’s Expertise in Aircraft Noise Makes an Impact in China

23.11.2012 (Manchester University, Centre for Aviation Transport and the Environment – CATE)

The CATE website says: 

One again, the Centre for Aviation, Transport and the Environment has been recognised for the quality of its research output and international standing of its staff. Building upon its world class research in climate change and alternative fuels, the focus has now turned to its expertise relating to aircraft noise .  Prof. Callum Thomas has been appointed adjunct Professor at the Civil Aviation University of China, and will travel to Beijing later this year to deliver a series of lectures on impact of aircraft noise upon communities surrounding airports. This environmental challenge is well understood in the UK, is frequently discussed in the media and has featured large in the debate surrounding the provision of a third runway at Heathrow airport.

China’s air transport industry is undergoing very rapid development at the present time, with over 60 airports under construction and air traffic exhibiting double digit growth. This massive expansion is having a number of impacts upon the environment and the authorities in Beijing have recognised the value of research in this field being undertaken at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

In 2008, MMU signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ARUP and the Civil Aviation University of China in Beijing to promote research and knowledge transfer that supports the sustainable development of the air transport industries in the two Countries.  This is being achieved by holding workshops in the UK and China and through the exchange of research students and staff.