Update from Richmond Heathrow Campaign on the Operational Freedoms trial
The Operational Freedom Trials have caused a great deal of concern among residents under areas of London under Heathrow flight paths over the last few months. The Richmond Heathrow Campaign is helping its local residents to understand the issues, and send in complaints if necessary. They give details of who to complain, and where to. On 1st November, Heathrow Airport Limited announced that 2 further elements of the trials will not now take place. These are Operational Freedom 2 – Re-directing departing aircraft, which would have allowed aircraft to be redirected from their route sooner after take-off, increasing capacity when both runways were in use for take-offs. Also Operational Freedom 3 – landing inbound aircraft without holding, which would have decreased the number of flights arriving before 5:00 am, but increased the number arriving between 5:30 and 6:00 am as airlines determined it to be impractical. Around 16 landings per night are allowed, which normally arrive between 4:30 am and 6:00 am. The Richmond campaign’s position is that flights between 11:00 pm and 6:00 am should end immediately.
From the Richmond Heathrow campaign – website at http://www.richmondheathrowcampaign.org/
The Operational Freedom Trials together with rumours of a third runway at Heathrow have caused a great deal of concern among residents over the last few months.
Operational Freedoms Trial
The trial continues, and so do the complaints to BAA resulting from intrusions into our quiet periods. A summary of the situation can be found on our website, and we have also prepared calendars for you to download, for Richmond and Barnes, and for Kew and Mortlake.
If you are disturbed by landing noise during one of your quiet periods, please complain to BAA. Call 0800 344844 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Always include the date and time, together with your name, address and postcode. If you also copy your email to email@example.com this will help us in monitoring how well BAA is processing complaints.
Some good news. On 1st November, Heathrow Airport Limited announced
that two further elements of the trials will not now take place. These are:
- Operational Freedom 2 – Re-directing departing aircraft: this would have allowed aircraft to be redirected from their route sooner after take-off, increasing capacity when both runways were in use for take-offs. It would have resulted in different take-off noise patterns over Ham. The reason for cancelling this part of the trial was that NATS and the CAA determined that safe procedures for this would take longer than expected to develop.
- Operational Freedom 3 – landing inbound aircraft without holding:this would have decreased the number of flights arriving before 5:00 am, but increased the number arriving between 5:30 and 6:00 am. As it would not necessarily have delayed the time of the first arrival, the net effect on Richmond and Kew would probably have been neutral or negative. The reason for cancelling this was that the airlines determined it to be impractical.
Complaints Auditing: The Richmond Heathrow Campaign will be working to ensure that there is effective auditing of complaints received by BAA, so that all are taken into full consideration.
Forthcoming Night Flights Consultation:
Around 16 landings per night are allowed. Normally these arrive between 4:30 am and 6:00 am. Our position is that:
The existing night flight regime is due to be replaced. A first stage consultation on this is expected sometime between December 2012 and February 2013. We will publicise it here and via our mailing list once it’s issued.
Making better use of Heathrow
Despite popular misconceptions, Heathrow is not full, but could be used in a more efficient way to satisfy growing passenger demand from the current annual 69 million passengers to 90 million without increasing current air traffic, but subject to congestion and pollution constraints on surface transport. This could be achieved by:
- Encouraging larger aircraft and discouraging smaller aircraft
- Encouraging higher seat occupancy
- Making better co-ordinated use of London’s five main airports
- Encouraging more direct point-to-point services from regional airports
Heathrow ‘Operational Freedoms’ trials to be extended by 6 months – with surprise change to night flights
Theresa Villiers has agreed to significant changes to the second phase of operational trials at Heathrow. As well as the 6 month extension, Air Traffic Control will be allowed to vary the routes some planes take on departure. And, in a surprise move, the trials will also allow some aircraft currently scheduled to arrive after 0600 to land between 0530 and 0600 provided that the same number of flights scheduled to arrive between 0430 and 0500 are rescheduled to after 0500. She stressed that the trials would result in no overall increase in the number of planes using Heathrow each day. HACAN is surprised by the extent of the changes which have been made to the second phase of the trial. John Stewart commented that “The big concern of local people is that they will lose their half day’s break from the noise. It is this which makes life bearable for so many people. There will also be a lot of anger that more flights are being allowed before six in the morning”.
Details at http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1921