Boeing’s noise advert found misleading

Boeing has been reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over misleading claims in a magazine advert that a new model was much quieter than the aircraft it replaces.

The manufacturer claimed it was testing "designs that will allow the new 787 to… fly 60% quieter than ever before". A member of the public living near Heathrow complained and in January the ASA ruled the claim to be "ambiguous" and "likely to mislead" because it was based on "noise footprint" and not reductions in the peak sound level experienced by people.

The noise footprint shows the size of the area around a runway within which the aircraft produced a given level of noise on landing and take off. For a level of 85dBA, the 787 total noise footprint area is 0.7 square miles compared with 1.9 square miles for the 767 model replaces. Boeing said this shows the reduced impact on local communities and that it was 60% quieter.

But the ASA found this to be ambiguous. "Readers were unlikely to understand that the claim was based on a reduction of the noise area... the ad should have made that basis of the claim clear."

Last November the ASA upheld another complaint against Boeing. It said the firm’s claim that its Boeing 747-8 jumbo jet produced 75 grams of CO2 per passenger kilometre should have been qualified to make it clear it referred to full flights.

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