London City Airport accused of creating a “noise ghetto” with proposed concentrated flight paths
London City Airport have started a consultation on airspace changes (4th September to 27th November) as it wishes to alter flight paths. The change will be because instead of less accurate navigation by aircraft, they now can fly using a very accurate form of satnav for planes. This is referred to as RNAV, meaning precision navigation, by which aircraft can all fly a course accurate to within a few hundred metres. The effect is concentration of flight paths, so most fly the exact same route, and anyone living under that route gets all the planes, and all the noise. Campaign group HACAN East has accused London City Airport of failing to spell out to tens of thousands of residents in East London that they are in line to get many more planes overhead if proposed flight path changes go ahead. The consultation does not make this clear. Areas directly under the favored flight path – and the concentration -will be Bow, Hackney Wick, Leyton Midland Road, Leytonstone, Barkingside and Colliers Row. The effect will be to create a noise ghetto. Air traffic controllers like concentration of flight paths. However, it is often better – less unfair – to share out the noise burden, so many people get some flights, rather than a few getting them all.
London City Airport creating a “noise ghetto” with proposed flight path changes
CAMPAIGNERS ACCUSE LONDON CITY AIRPORT OF CREATING A NOISE GHETTO WITH PROPOSED FLIGHT PATH CHANGES
Campaign group HACAN East has accused London City Airport of failing to spell out to tens of thousands of residents in East London that they are in line to get many more planes overhead if proposed flight path changes go ahead.
London City is proposing to concentrate the flights taking off from the airport in a narrow corridor. Areas directly under the favored flight path will be Bow, Hackney Wick, Leyton Midland Road, Leytonstone, Barkingside and Colliers Row.
City Airport is currently consulting on the proposed changes but is not leafleting the areas that will be worst affected (1).
The main consultation document is at London City Airport RNAV Replications
The changes are part of a wider reorganization of the airspace across London and the South East which is been overseen by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority). LAMP – London Airspace Management Programme.
New computer technology can now guide aircraft much more accurately when they are landing and taking off. [Like satnav for planes]. It gives airports the option of varying the routes the planes use in order to give all residents some respite from the noise or of concentrating all the planes on one route.
London City has chosen to concentrate the aircraft.
HACAN East chair John Stewart said, “Quite simply, London City is creating a noise ghetto. No wonder they are afraid to spell out to the residents what is in store for them. The contrast with Heathrow couldn’t be more marked. Heathrow are planning to consult widely on the changes and to use the new technology to share out the noise burden.”
Stewart added, “We will be officially reporting London City to the CAA because of the poor quality of their consultation. They simply have not made clear to people what is in store for them.”
Notes for Editors:
(1). The consultation documents can be found at http://www.londoncityairport.com/londonairspacemanagement.
It started on 4th September and runs until 27th November 2014. Responses to the consultation should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The London City Airport website says of their consultation:
From 4 September to 27 November 2014 London City Airport (LCY) is consulting on proposals to modernise its flight paths, to allow the introduction of Area Navigation (RNAV**), superseding the ground-based navigational systems used today. The consultation is a statutory requirement according to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations.
The London City Airport proposal seeks to replicate the existing conventional flight paths with equivalent RNAV routes. The concept is not optional – a legal mandate is being introduced by the Civil Aviation Authority which will require all aircraft to be equipped to navigate using RNAV by November 2017, and a mandate for the airspace to provide RNAV routes is expected to be effective by winter 2019.
The proposed changes are key to achieving network efficiency and reducing delays in the south and are an important part of the London Airspace Management Programme (LAMP), NATS’ wider programme to modernise the air route system over London and the south east.
London City Airport says:
What do these proposals mean to people living, and businesses located, near to the airport?
Aircraft departing from, and arriving at, London City Airport will continue to fly along the same routes as they do today. However, because these will become RNAV routes, the aircraft will fly them more accurately, meaning they will be consistently closer to the centreline of said route.
This has the effect of reducing the overall area overflown, but it will increase the concentration of over-flights in some areas beneath the centreline of the given route.
Is London City Airport alone in this concept?
London City Airport is not alone in changing over to RNAV routes. The proposed changes are an important part of the London Airspace Management Programme (LAMP), a wider programme to modernise the air route system over London and the south east that is being led by NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic services. This is essential for the delivery of the Future Airspace Strategy (FAS), the Civil Aviation Authority’s blueprint for modernising airspace by 2020.The undertaking of LAMP and the introduction of RNAV routes at airports is not optional – a legal mandate is being introduced by the Civil Aviation Authority, which will require all aircraft to be equipped to navigate using RNAV by November 2017, and a mandate for the airspace to provide RNAV routes is expected to be effective by winter 2019.
Why is the consultation required?
While the London City Airport proposal is for replication of existing flight paths to make them RNAV compliant, the CAA’s Airspace Change Process and the CAA Policy on RNAV replication of conventional procedures state that formal consultation is required to ensure that the London City Airport Consultative Committee has the opportunity to provide feedback.
What is this consultation not about?
This consultation only concerns aircraft arriving to/departing from London City Airport. It is not related to air traffic growth in general nor changes to the ground-based infrastructure at London City Airport.
This consultation is specifically not about the permission that London City Airport has to increase its flight movements to 120,000 per annum, nor is it about the City Airport Development Programme planning application which is with Newham Council for determination.
This consultation is also not concerned with RNAV as a future tool, any other or future development, any aspect of Government airport or airspace policy or the establishment of controlled airspace.
Who are the stakeholders in the consultation?
This is a public consultation, however the key stakeholders are:
- The London City Airport Consultative Committee (ACC) which includes representatives of Local Authorities, community representatives and other organisations that have expressed an interest in the activities of the airport
- Members of the National Air Traffic Management Committee (NATMAC) which includes representatives of all types of airspace users.
- Airlines that operate from London City Airport.
- [Note – this does not mention local residents and those to be overflown, with a concentration of flights overhead, and therefore substantially more noise].
What happens to the responses to the consultation?
Responses to the Consultation are used to prepare a formal submission to the CAA Safety and Airspace Regulation Group (SARG) regarding proposed routes.
When does the CAA SARG decide on the outcome of the consultation?
Following consultation, London City Airport will submit an Airspace Change Proposal (ACP) to the CAA. The CAA will make a decision within 16 weeks of the submission of the ACP. This is expected to be during the summer 2015
Where can I go if I have concerns regarding how the consultation is being carried out?
This consultation is being conducted by London City Airport. The CAA SARG will oversee the consultation, to ensure that it adheres to CAA process and government guidelines. If there are any complaints about how this consultation has been conducted, these should be referred to:
Airspace Business Coordinator
Airspace, ATM and Aerodromes
Safety & Airspace Regulation Group
45 – 59 Kingsway
Please note that this address is for concerns and complaints regarding non-adherence to the defined consultation process. The SARG will not engage with consultees on details of this consultation. Response to the nature of this specific consultation should be addressed to London City Airport. The SARG will receive details of your response as part of the formal ACP submission for this proposal.
** RNAV is explained by NATS to mean:
Precision RNAV, otherwise known as RNAV1 is a capability that uses the aircraft’s Flight Management System (FMS) to fly routes with an accuracy of 1 mile or better. In practice this is a minimum standard and the aircraft actually fly very much more accurately than that. The advantage over conventional procedures is that routes can be designed to optimise trajectory for fuel burn, noise, air traffic control capacity and safety without being constrained by the position of traditional ground based navigation aids.
With aircraft being able to follow a defined route much more accurately, it is possible to concentrate them over a smaller area, radically reducing the number of people exposed to aircraft noise. The problem of course is that those under the new departure route could potentially experience more noise.
It is explained by London City Airport as
RNAV is an advanced, highly accurate method of aircraft navigation. RNAV (Area Navigation) is the ability of an aircraft’s Flight Management System (FMS) to navigate by means of waypoints defined by latitude and longitude, rather than by conventional ground based navigational aids. Basic Area Navigation (B-RNAV ) has navigational accuracy ± 5 nautical miles either side of a routes centreline and its capability is mandated in UK controlled airspace currently.
The RNAV (technically known as RNAV1) has an accuracy of + 1 nautical mile either side of the centreline which allows better track keeping and as such the replicated route’s proposed for London City Airport are all designed to this specification.
An AirportWatch member commented: