Luton Airport is to be a test bed for developing a "silent" jet aircraft.
Airport environment managers are to join a trans-Atlantic team of aviation engineers and academics on the project.
The aim is to share knowledge and test designs in an airport environment and the team includes Cambridge University and the MIT Institute in the USA.
A number of technologies and designs are being developed for a plane that will be radically quieter than current passenger aircraft.
Partners in the project
The aim is to discover ways to reduce aircraft noise to the point where it would be virtually unnoticeable to people outside an airport perimeter in a typical built-up area.
Luton Airport is giving researchers vital insights into how busy airports are run.
Regulators, airport operators, airlines, aerospace manufacturers and representatives of community groups opposed to aircraft noise are all involved, helping to design new engines and organise flight tests.
The project is being organised and funded by the Cambridge-MIT Institute. Partners include British Airways, Boeing, the Civil Aviation Authority, Cranfield University, Marshalls Aerospace, National Air Traffic Services, and Rolls-Royce.
Neil Thompson, environment manager at Luton Airport, said: "We are always anxious to be a good and responsible neighbour to the local community.
"Although this initiative's targets are long-term, we can see a time when major changes in aircraft configuration and operations would directly help us meet passenger demand and reduce environmental impact."
Paul Collins, project manager of the CMI 'Silent' Aircraft Initiative, said: "Luton Airport has already provided valuable insight into the complexities of airport management."
Prof Ed Greitzer, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said: " Our approach is to design the aircraft with a major decrease in noise as a primary consideration from the onset; the configurations will thus differ substantially from current aircraft."