In recent years many airports have opted to become “silent airports”, where public address announcements are replaced by alternative communication methods. Are quiet airports the way forward and how have passengers reacted? Frances Marcellin finds out
Over the last ten years there has been a growing trend towards airports becoming “silent airports”. Usually this means that public announcements throughout airport terminals will cease to exist, but in most cases emergency announcements and those at the gate are still permitted.
“A silent airport is about creating a calm, relaxed ambiance without being disrupted by unnecessary airport announcements,” explains Antoine Rostworowski, deputy director general, programmes and services, at ACI World. A non-profit organisation representing airports all over the world, ACI World serves 641 members in 1,953 airports across 176 countries.
“It does not necessarily mean having no announcements at all, but it aims at greatly reducing or eliminating the number and frequency of general announcements in most parts of an airport,” he says.
“In a busy airport environment, where there is already a lot of hubbub, being able to reduce non-essential noise greatly contributes to creating a calmer experience and a more relaxed atmosphere for passengers.
Mixed public reaction to silent airports
Although there are no official figures, more and more airports are implementing “silent airport” policies.
In May last year, Chennai Airport became one of the latest airports to adopt the strategy, which meant that boarding announcements would no longer be broadcast. Notifying a change in boarding time, baggage delivery or other similar aspects are carried out through the airline by SMS, although limited announcements are permitted if there is a change of boarding gates.