Feared air traffic changes delayed

Controversial plans to redirect aircraft over Comet country have been postponed.

The National Air Traffic Service (NATS), which manages Britain’s airspace, has put back talks on changes to commercial flight paths over the area because of a downturn in air travel.

The original plans were met with opposition by politicians and residents who feared Stevenage and Hitchin would be adversely affected by noise from low-flying aircraft in and out of Luton Airport.

But change will come, said Alex Bristol, NATS development and investment director, who said analysis and feedback on the project so far will be incorporated into a wider review of airspace over southern England.

“Whilst the downturn in air traffic means we can take longer to ensure we have the best solution, we have always been clear that doing nothing is not a long-term option,” he said.

“This is a large and very complex area of airspace with many interactions and as traffic levels pick up changes will be necessary to ensure continued safety and reduce delay.”

Mr Bristol said they expected to deliver improvements from 2016.

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