Could your area be impacted by new Luton airport flight paths?

PUBLISHED: 11:22 20 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:05 20 October 2020

London Luton Airport has launched a consultation for plans to change flight paths. Picture: Luton Airport

London Luton Airport has launched a consultation for plans to change flight paths. Picture: Luton Airport

Archant

London Luton Airport has launched a public consultation on arrival routes into the airport, and is looking at two new options to create a more sustainable model for communities in Herts and Beds.

Some changes would positively or negatively impact noise pollution for some communities under the flight path. Picture: DANNY LOOSome changes would positively or negatively impact noise pollution for some communities under the flight path. Picture: DANNY LOO

This comes as the airport currently shares arrival routes and holds with Stansted – meaning any delay at one airport, either in the air or on the ground, impacts the other and can cause additional delays.

The consultation will help determine new arrival routes for flights into the airport, offering residents and communities in the surrounding areas the chance to have their say.

The proposed changes will separate routes further out and higher up and create a new hold for Luton arrivals, to ensure that operations for Luton and Stansted don’t impact each other.

The joint consultation, co-sponsored by LLA and air traffic control provider NATS, is looking at two options to simplify the arrival routes for flights.

Plans to change the flight path into Luton airport are open for consultation. Picture: LLA and NATSPlans to change the flight path into Luton airport are open for consultation. Picture: LLA and NATS

The first option uses the latest air navigation technology (Performance Based Navigation - PBN) at higher altitudes (approximately 8,000ft and above) to separate LLA’s arrivals from Stansted’s, with air traffic controllers tactically descending and directing aircraft from approximately 8,000ft to land. The second, preferred option, is the same, but extends the availability of PBN to final approach, which allows a predictable distribution of flights for communities beneath.

The proposals would affect areas not only in the immediate vicinity of the airport but also wider areas across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and Suffolk.

An online postcode tool allows anyone living or working in these areas to see what the changes may mean for them.

Some postcodes SG1, through to SG7 – Stevenage, Knebworth, Hitchin, Letchworth. Baldock – are “unlikely to experience a change”, while others are likely to experience a negative change from arrivals coming from the west, according to the tool.

You may also want to watch:

Some in SG8 – Royston and surrounding – may experience a reduction in noise pollution, while those in SG15, SG16 and SG17 areas may experience an increase.

To comply with COVID-19 health and safety restrictions, representatives from LLA and NATS will host a number of webinars and virtual meetings throughout the consultation period to present the details of the proposal to local communities, airspace users, businesses and MPs.

These will replace traditional “town hall” meetings and drop-in events and provide a platform for participants to put questions to subject matter experts.

A virtual exhibition will offer everyone access to all the information they need to make an informed decision and provide feedback that will help determine the final proposal.

Lee Boulton, head of Swanwick Development at NATS, said: “The number of flights into London Luton Airport has increased significantly in recent years and our controllers have had to delay aircraft and manually manage each flight to ensure safety.

“This proposal is all about ensuring safety and the consultation is a great opportunity for people to give us their feedback and help shape the proposed options, so that the airspace around the Airport operates more effectively into the future.”

Neil Thompson, operations director at London Luton Airport, said: “Any airspace change can have impacts for a wide variety of people. Local communities may be affected by noise, airlines will see a change to the routes that they fly and local airspace users may see changes too. That’s why over the last 18 months we’ve been working hard with NATS, local community representatives, airlines and others to help develop the final proposals in this consultation.

“It’s now really important that we hear from the wider community during the 15-week consultation.”

To find out more and submit a response, visit https://bit.ly/35ewSNc. Dates, times and registration details for online meetings can be found here.

This consultation runs from October 19, 2020 until February 5, 2021.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Comet. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the The Comet