Taking Off Towards a Better Tomorrow

The Authority is responsible for operating the airport safely and efficiently with the least environmental impact possible. The LRAA works with the FAA, airlines, airport users and neighbors to identify feasible and affordable solutions to community noise problems and environmental concerns.

Sustainability Focus Areas

Focus areas reflect the issues that are most important to the airport. These areas include strategic goals and commitments that the airport has made to the community. Initial focus areas for documenting the Louisville Regional Airport Authority’s sustainability activities are:

Air – Reduce air quality impacts associated with airport operations

Energy – Improve energy efficiency and access to alternative fuel sources

Noise – Reduce community noise impacts associated with airport operations

Water – Reduce water quality impacts associated with airport operations

Administrative – Sustainable policy, procedures and plans

SDF Focus Areas

The goal of the Authority is to concentrate aircraft operations over the least populated areas, exposing the fewest people to aircraft noise levels incompatible with residential living. With the FAA’s approval, several changes in air traffic procedures have been made and include:

Departing Aircraft

We make sure all takeoffs head south (if the weather permits) so that our noisiest operations can be pushed away from the more densely populated areas north of the airport.

We maintain all prescribed headings until we are a safe distance from the airport. This keeps a safe separation between aircraft and minimizes noise exposure in communities near
the airport.

Arriving Aircraft

Normally aircraft runway preferences are for arriving from the north. On weekdays, that changes to the south for a small period of time, with an increase in arrivals over departures between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. This cuts down on flights over the northern part of the airport.

Most of our aircraft now intercept the glide slope at higher altitudes than before.


Implemented between 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., the contraflow helps aircraft arrive from the south for a specified time and then depart southward for the remaining portion. Contraflow helps keep noises on the southern part of the airport where there are less populated areas.

Bowman Field Focus Areas

We love our community and LRAA is committed to being neighborly to those living around Bowman Field. Implementing the Air Traffic Control Tower to use standard left-hand traffic patterns and available runways (based on wind and weather) helps reduce noise for areas all around the airport.

Noise Abatement Measures

Please note: These are not meant to take precedence over ATC instructions.

Operate aircraft in such a manner as to cause the least noise, vibration and exhaust
emission consistent with safety and efficiency.

Operate no aircraft with a maximum landing weight in excess of 30,000 pounds without
approval of the Executive Director.
Conduct practice, training and/or proficiency operations between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. (9 a.m. on Sunday) and only if the Air Traffic Control Tower is in operation.

Conduct engine run-ups between the hours of 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Conduct run-ups in a manner that directs noise towards the center of the airport.
Use Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association or Manufacturer’s suggested Noise.


When it comes to measuring noise, we rely on day-night levels (DNL). This system was adopted by the Federal government as a method to measuring noise in an accurate and helpful manner. DNL helps determine if a community is eligible for Federal grants that can reduce the impact from aircraft noise. The average noise exposure level over the course of a year creates the basis for DNL. Noises at night weigh more heavily than those in the day.


Weather affects almost every aspect of an aircraft. Warmer weather creates slower aircraft climbs, making operations louder. Cloudy days can create increased levels of noise that rebound towards earth. Wind can carry aircraft noise farther than usual and can impact things greatly when the tower is controlling takeoffs and landings. Wind is beneficial for aircraft during takeoff and landing. Prevailing winds in Louisville tend to come from the south, which supports the airport’s preferred daytime pattern of landings from the north and takeoffs to the south. However, about every one in five days, winds will come from the north, requiring the pattern to be reversed. In addition to wind speeds, other factors including visibility, precipitation and even the pavement can affect which runways will be used.

Air and Water

Air emission inventories for SDF and LOU have been completed that will help determine the next steps to reduce airport emissions at each facility.

Procedures have been implemented to reduce fleet-idle time and unnecessary and redundant

The terminal ramp has a diversion structure for aircraft de-icing.

There is a dedicated public transit system stop at the terminal and a self-contained, rental-car facility next to the passenger terminal (unlike shuttle bus operations that are common at many airports).

A bio-diesel tank has been installed to fuel our diesel-powered vehicles.

The Authority is supporting technological, operational and efficiency advances that reduce the impact of carbon dioxide emissions through the Airport Council International’s 2008 Aviation and Environmental Summit.

There are automatic shutoff water fixtures in the passenger terminal and in most Authority buildings.
In July 2018, bottle-filling stations branded with Louisville Water were installed in the passenger terminal. Thanks to these, the airport helped eliminate waste from more than 115,000 disposable plastic bottles.

Rain sensors interrupt the cycle of irrigation systems when it’s raining.


At Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport’s passenger terminal, automatic sensors adjust indoor and outdoor lighting taking advantage of the sunlight from the skylights; temperatures are automatically adjusted, based on the number of people and scheduled use; and high-efficiency light fixtures and bulbs are used indoors and out.
There are automatic light sensors in the restrooms of the Administration, Maintenance and Public Safety buildings.

New chillers at the passenger terminal are 20 percent more energy efficient than those they replaced and use a more environmentally sensitive refrigerant.

LED taxiway lights are installed at SDF, which are four times more energy efficient than traditional fixtures

Get Involved

All Community Noise Forum meets are free and open to the public. Typically held every fourth Monday of the month at 6 p.m. at the LRAA Administration Building, 700 Administration Drive, east of the passenger terminal. Click here for meeting information – we hope to see you there.

Airport Authority’s Noise Officer

Bob Slattery

(502) 368-8516