transport represents a dynamic and fast growing industry that fits well with the needs of nowadays society. The process of liberalization and deregulation in the air transport market introduced by the European Commission in the last decade, has deeply modified the structure of aviation at Community level. The growth in importance of carriers with a different economic structure along with the growth of regional airports are among the most important products of the changed scenario. Regional airports occupy a central role within the deregulated market since they represent preferred destinations for low-cost carriers and spokes for network carriers. However aviation represents a source of environmental externalities, especially at local level, which interferes with human activities. If on the one hand the impact of emissions at local level is under study and deserves a better understanding, on the other hand noise has always been a serious problem for dwellings located near the airports. Even if there has been a tremendous improvement in aircraft noise performances during the last twenty years the growth of the aviation market has outstripped this benefits. The enforcement of recent noise policies by the European Commission shifts the problem of noise impact from annoyance for people living near the airports to a constraint of airports growth. It is essential for airport operators to manage the variables that affect airport acoustical capacity in order to maximize the number of aircrafts that an airport can handle within a given noise level.
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