Noise Reporting

On-Wing Aircraft Engine Testing Noise

On-wing aircraft engine testing is defined as any engine test that is performed whilst the engine is attached to the aircraft. At Christchurch Airport these engine tests are undertaken outside, at various locations depending on several factors including wind direction, runway use, aircraft type etc. The noise emitted from such engine tests can have a disruptive impact on nearby residents or sensitive activities such as schools and universities.

The distinction between on and off-aircraft engine testing is important to make as sometimes aircraft engines are removed for more rigorous repairs and testing is undertaken in an enclosed test cell. As the test is carried out in a closed cell, the ability for noise and its potential impact to travel beyond the airport boundary is limited.

Aircraft engine testing differs from operational aircraft noise as it does not include noise produced during aircraft taxiing, take-off and landing. Aircraft operational noise is still monitored and reported on as it must comply with a different set of noise restrictions. Please see the section below on Operational Aircraft Noise for more information.

The Christchurch District Plan has put in place a number of restrictions related to engine testing noise. To simplify, the plan states that:

  • Aircraft engine testing noise shall not exceed 65 decibel (dB) Ldn at the 65 dB Ldn engine testing noise contour, calculated as a 7 day rolling average;
  • Aircraft engine testing noise shall not exceed 55 dB Ldn at the 55 dB Ldn engine testing noise contour, calculated as a 7 day rolling average;
  • The noise emitted from engine tests shall not exceed a 75 dB LAmax as calculated at the edge of the residential zone at the location indicated in the District Plan.
  • There will be no high power jet engine tests carried out between the hours of 2200 and 0700 unless the test is 'Unplanned' or exempt;
  • All high power turbo-prop engine tests that will be undertaken for five minutes or longer during the period 2200 and 0700 must be carried out on the threshold of Runway 11 unless otherwise in use;

Christchurch Airport must abide by these restrictions unless a test is exempt or qualifies as 'Unplanned'. Exemptions to the above restrictions only apply to tests:

  • Undertaken on aircraft associated with Antarctic Operations; or
  • That have sign off from the Civil Aviation Authority or the Minister of Transport; or
  • Are required as a result of an airline model defect; or
  • Test required as a result of a natural disaster.

An 'Unplanned' engine test is a test that is undertaken between the hours of 2200 and 0700 on a jet engine aircraft at high power. The airport is only allowed to undertake five such unplanned tests per quarter and 12 annually.

Operational Aircraft Noise

Operational aircraft noise is noise emitted from an aircraft during taxiing, take-off and landing procedures. The Christchurch District Plan requires that operational aircraft noise does not exceed 65 dB Ldn within the area outlined in Figure 1 of the District Plan. Christchurch Airport calculates the operational aircraft noise annually to determine compliance with the noise contour. 

Current Noise Levels


Date/Time Aircraft Max. power tested Duration (minutes) Unplanned Exempted Reason for exemption
15/10/2019 03:15 ATR72 600 High 2 No No
13/10/2019 20:00 ATR72 500 High 2 No No
13/10/2019 10:04 A320 Idle 16 No No
12/10/2019 11:10 A320 Idle 2 No No
12/10/2019 01:20 ATR72 600 High 2 No No
11/10/2019 21:39 A320 Idle 16 No No
11/10/2019 18:30 ATR72 600 Medium 40 No No
11/10/2019 16:00 ATR72 600 Idle 10 No No
11/10/2019 13:30 A320 Idle 25 No No
11/10/2019 03:45 ATR72 500 High 2 No No
10/10/2019 18:00 ATR72 600 High 7 No No
10/10/2019 14:45 ATR72 600 Idle 40 No No
09/10/2019 18:50 A320 High 20 No No
08/10/2019 19:00 A320 Idle 20 No Yes Used for Antarctic Operations
08/10/2019 04:30 ATR72 600 High 1 No No