The Environment

Striking a balance between developing the airport economically and protecting the environment and local residents’ quality of life.

Environmental approach and policy


As part of its approach to responsible development practices, Bordeaux Airport continually monitors the impact it has on the environment and encourages dialogue and cooperation with all stakeholders, be they customers or employees, partners or local residents. Managing air quality, noise pollution, waste and our consumption of resources are key objectives of our environmental policy, and form the basis of our continuous improvement plan.

Information for local residents


Here, you will find all the information you need about our soundproofing grant scheme, noise contour mapping, key flight paths from the airport and consultative bodies.

Visualize air traffic


Find information about our flight path visualization tool and the sound levels recorded by our measuring stations.

Questions / Answers

Do planes sometimes dump fuel in the atmosphere?

Fuel dumping is a very rare occurrence. It happens only when the plane’s weight needs to be quickly reduced so an emergency landing can be performed for passengers’ safety.  This might be the case on long-haul flights that need to land shortly after take-off for technical reasons or due to a passenger emergency.

Fuel-dumping can only be done over sparsely populated areas and at a height of at least 2,000 m. The fuel is vaporised into tiny droplets so that it can then evaporate and disperse into the atmosphere. 

Only major carriers operating long-haul flights that have to land shortly after take-off might need to dump fuel. The reason planes do this is that, because they haven’t consumed much fuel on their journey so far, they might be heavier than the authorised weight for landing. 

Sometimes you might spot white trails at the tips of a plane’s wings as it takes off or lands. These aren’t caused by fuel dumping - in fact, they are made of condensed water vapour. They occur when the air is humid and the flaps at the back of the wings are extended (this is particularly common during landing). 

How can I view the flight paths over my local area, and where can I find more information about them?

Since late 2003, Bordeaux Airport has used a system for measuring aircraft noise and monitoring their flight paths. It allows users to save, view and analyse flight paths and noise generated by commercial aircraft travelling within a 55 km radius of the Airport, at a height of up to 3000 m.

To visualize trajectories that fly over your municipality, you can:

  • Connect to the AEROVISION tool provided by the Airport.
  • Set up an appointment with the Territorial Relations and Environment department via the contact form.
What is a “go around”?

A “go around” is the term used to describe a controlled safety manoeuvre used by pilots when they judge that the conditions are not right for landing. This procedure allows the plane to regain height, so that it can then attempt to land again. There are several reasons why a pilot might opt for a go around: 

  • The plane might be travelling too fast or too high in the air, or it might not be stable enough; 
  • The weather conditions could be poor; 
  • There might be something on the runway, such as another aircraft or an animal.
Can airlines be punished if they don’t stick to measures designed to reduce noise pollution?

French law dated 6 March 2009 defines how measures designed to cut noise pollution are applied at Bordeaux Aerodrome. The French South-West Civil Aviation Authority’s safety department is able to make a statement attesting to any failures to adhere to regulations. If this statement is supported by evidence, the airline could face financial penalties. This penalty is levied by the French Airport Noise Inspection Authority (or Autorité de Contrôle des Nuisances Aéroportuaires). For the purposes of transparency, information about any fines levied is available to the public.

Why don’t planes always face the same way when they are taking off and landing?

Planes usually travel into the wind when they take off or land. This way, they are quicker to reach the speed they need to take off, and they have more lift. Landing into the wind helps them gradually put on the brakes and reduces the distance they then travel on the runway. This is why runways can be used both ways in a single day – it all depends on the direction and speed of the wind, both on the ground and at altitude. Air traffic control decides which runway should be used and the direction a plane needs to travel in.

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