JetBlue Airways Plane
Credit: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

JetBlue is taking steps to make flights even better for people who are in the air and on the ground.

According to Travel Weekly, the airline has announced that it will retrofit 138 of its Airbus A320 aircrafts with vortex generators, which significantly reduce noise upon landing, by 2021.

This is especially beneficial to both passengers and locals near the airport, since a study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health found that sustained exposure to aircraft noise can be linked to poor health, including sleep disturbance, higher blood pressure and heart rates and increased stress that could contribute to a lower quality of life.

Sound levels inside the aircraft can reach dangerous levels as well, which can cause hearing loss. According to a Swedish study in 2018, which measured noise levels on 200 flights, sound levels were between 37.6 decibels (dB) to under 110 dB with a median of 83.5 dB. About 4.5% of flights exceeded the recommended TWA exposure limit of 85 dB within an 8-hour period. Noises that reach 85 dB or above can cause permanent hearing loss.

But these vortex generators will hopefully significantly reduce the risk by diverting wind over certain parts of airplane wings, which produces a “whistling” noise as the plane approaches an airport.

“While the airline industry has benefited from advances in technology and efficiency leading to quieter planes and engines, the work is never done," said Joe Bertapelle, JetBlue's director of strategic airspace programs, according to Travel Weekly. "We're pleased to incorporate this advancement across our Airbus fleet.”

According to MarketWatch, all future Airbus orders will have vortex generators already installed. The company expects to spend less than $1 million to complete the retrofitting on the existing Airbus fleet.