Wednesday, November 05, 2014

New Flight Path arrangements over Barkingside for London City Airport Traffic

If you look back to the beginning of this blog you will find that on that first day in 2006 I published two posts one of which was entitled “Noisy Aeroplanes??”. And so it goes on.

On Monday evening there was a meeting in Wanstead Library about the new flight path arrangements for London City Airport. As this clashed with our committee meeting this post is written from the notes of our Wanstead mole, Helen Zammett to whom we are grateful.

To cut a long story short, there is no actual change to the flight paths, but, and it’s a big but, they are to be made narrower. This is the result of a European Union Directive (those which UKIP keep complaining about) that requires Air Traffic Control to use a new technology called RNAV. The result of this is that the planes can navigate their path much more accurately so whereas planes passing over Barkingside may have been spread a mile apart they can now be concentrated into a path just a few hundred yards wide.

See the graphic below courtesy of Wansteadium who also has a write up on this topic with some interesting comments. It’s a google map so you can use your mouse to zoom in and out.

This is all fine and dandy for controlling air traffic but it does mean that while some residents will see a decrease in overhead traffic, those on the thick lines will see, and possibly hear, an increase. One also needs to bear in mind that by the time the planes get to Barkingside and beyond they are quite high, probably about 3,000 ft, so the noise may not be that bad.

Roger Evans’ statement
HACAN has huge expertise in dealing with airport issues and flight path noise is now a cross party issue across London. A political debate is needed where the public need to be given more “straight” information about the effects of airport development.
This plan will create winners and losers and once the noise of the concentrated flight paths arrives, it will be almost impossible to “put it back in the box.” The concern is not just concentrated flight paths but more flights. Airports already have permission to have more flights than they are operating – their problem is lack of space for parking planes.
London City Airport’s statement
Jeremy Probert said that the planned changes were not done for LCA’s benefit but were due to a European mandate carried out by the Civil Aircraft Authority [CAA]. This public consultation is the first phase of the exercise which is being done to a tight deadline over which they have no say. This has been driven by the problem of huge traffic congestion over London, caused by the five London airports.

There will be no change to the current flight path direction but the flights will be more concentrated in the centre line of the flight path, while planes will be over 3,000 ft high, quickly rising to 4,000 ft. Planes are only allowed to fly for 13.5 hours a day – one of the most tightly restricted airports in the country. Currently Redbridge has 90 – 100 flights a day, with another 10 – 15 flights a day being added in the future.
The public response was that the new technology does not restrict London City Airport flights from being spread over a wider area giving respite and sharing the burden. Just because you can concentrate all the flights into a narrow corridor doesn’t mean you have to do it. It’s worked up to now hasn’t it?

Apparently no hard copy material has been distributed to residents who would be affected. The full consultation can be found here. Guidance on the consultation can be found at Hacan East.

There is a petition here.

Wanstead Councillor Paul Merry said that a resolution will be put before the next meeting of Redbridge Council to take up the lack of proper public consultation with the LCA and CAA.


  1. 3 Points:-

    1, The City Airport planes will stay significantly lower (about 2500 ft) than quoted as they have to fly below the Heathrow planes. Therefore the noise will be greater with no respite.

    2, City Airport are hiding behind the CAA for making them do it. The CAA are hiding behind City Airport saying it is up to them to determine how to do it.

    3, For comparison Heathrow is consulting with residents and implementing the CAA requirements in a way to spread the flight path and provide periods of respite. City Airport can't be bothered.

    I was at the meeting

  2. OK, so that's another reason to vote for UKIP!

  3. to see the planes that fly over.....(theres also a vessel finder site) i'm addicted to them both