What is an “Independent Parallel Approach”?

It is a form of intensive landing at Heathrow using both runways at the same time. It does not give respite when being used, unlike currently, where runway usage is alternated during the day.

By skewing the arrival path for one inward bound runway, it is possible to get the planes closer together and thereby push through more planes. Heathrow are going to ask the CAA for permission to increase the throughput by 25,000 Air Traffic Movements per year using the existing two runways. The Heathrow illustration is below:

Will this make a difference? It most certainly will. One flight path will continue as now. The other will draw planes around Heathrow so that people will, for the first time be overflown in both directions. On the eastern side of the airport, when planes depart to east, residents will be overflown by both departing planes and arriving planes above.

IPA1 shows westerly take-off mode with planes coming in from the east, north and south to land on the northern runway. Departures and the one runway using the conventional route are not shown – only arrivals on the IPA route. Departing planes will overfly residents on the west side but now residents at the south, north and east will be overflown with arriving planes. The south runway will  be operating as now with planes coming in over London (not shown on the diagram)

IPA2 shows westerly take-off mode with planes circling round to land on the south runway. Departing planes will take off to the west (not shown) and inbound planes onto the north runway will continue to arrive over London (again not shown on the diagram)

IPA3 shows the easterly take-off mode with planes circling round to land on the south runway from the west. Here however, departing planes are also going eastwards. Twickenham, Teddington, Richmond, East Molesey, Ealing and all residents south of the airport will suffer departing planes and arriving planes at the same time.

Heathrow predict 40 planes per day after 7am using this mode with up to 25 using it between 6am and 7am.

Noisy times and as many people as possible should make representations to their MPs and complete the consultation responses!

Following CAA approval, Heathrow might need planning consent as the existing planning limit of 480,000 ATMs will be exceeded. However, that might be easy to obtain in view of the sympathetic attitude of the Government to Heathrow



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  1. Mo
    29th January 2019

    Will this approach be adopted by other airports?

  2. Danny Walsh
    16th January 2019

    It just goes to show that greedy Heathrow don’t care about their neighbours!

  3. RMH
    16th January 2019

    Please could you publish the diagrams larger in relation to text? Preferably downloadable also as a full A4 pdf for each diagram, so that people can print them out and have their whole screen for text in parallel. . I do not have exceptionally bad eyesight and do have a very large photoediting pc screen: I found that on maximum Zoom (500 percent) the diagram maps were only just legible, whilst the text was so massively large that navigation was awkward. This is a complicated issue for those outside the aviation industry and needs easy presentation to be understood. Probably the actual text is fine when the visual presentation is improved.

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