During January to March 2019, Heathrow Airport will be conducting a consultation in two parts, which you need to be aware of:
- Airspace changes for the existing two runways to allow an increase in the number of flights. Currently the airport is limited to 480,000 air traffic movements for arrivals and departures combined (ATMs). The thought is that Heathrow want to increase the annual throughput by 25,000 ATMs
- Airspace changes for a three runway airport
Later in the year, there will be a second consultation on Heathrow’s “preferred masterplan for Heathrow expansion, including the physical infrastructure changes and how Heathrow will manage the effects of growth at the airport”.
For the two runways, the proposal is to have a system of offset approaches called “Independent Parallel Approaches” (the name is a little odd since they will be neither independent nor parallel). This effectively offsets the approaches so that both runways can be used at the same time. By offsetting the approaches outwards, more planes can be squeezed in without them coming too close together. The likelihood is that respite for the people underneath the inward flightpaths will be substantially reduced. Hopefully, more details will become available from Heathrow when the consultation starts.
It is very important that people respond to the consultation. One thing that we can be pretty sure of is that there will be more, rather than less, noise and for some people, this may be very significant.
For both two runways and three runways, Heathrow will be introducing “Performance Based Navigation”, which as we have written before, is a form of “Satnav” which enables planes to be positioned in the sky much more precisely. This is likely to bring about the further concentration of flight paths to the detriment of people underneath them.
TAG is very much against the concentration of flight paths as it represents an unfair and extremely unhealthy burden upon those affected. The Airports Commission warned that, with a third runway, respite (the defined periods of noise relief for people affected by noise from aircraft) would be significantly reduced from half of the day to one third of the day. This would be bad enough, but further concentration would make it worse. We are campaigning as hard as we can for the equitable dispersion of flight paths to share the load.
Heathrow’s consultation website is at
Please have your say and do not waste your voice