Flood of complaints from people upset by newly concentrated flight paths at London City airport
London City Airport’s decision to concentrate all its flights paths earlier this year, with changes from 4th February, has resulted in a flood of complaints. HACAN East, which speaks for residents under the flight paths, has launched a short report outlining some of the complaints they received in just one month. With hot summer weather and people being outdoors more, or opening their windows more, the problem of aircraft noise is at its worst as people are most aware of it. HACAN East said the newly concentrated flight paths have brought complaints from many areas for the first time. The complaints have come from vast swathes of east and south east London. Hundreds of people have said they did not have flights in the past, but now get them sometimes as often as every 3 minutes. People who moved to the area are now subjected to a level of noise they could not have expected, and they are affected by Heathrow arrivals as well as London City flights. People are especially upset if they moved from a noisy area, hoping they had moved to a quieter one. John Stewart said that HACAN East has met airport representatives who said they “have not closed their mind” to looking again at the concentrated flight paths but will not do so until next year after the Government (DfT) has issued its forthcoming consultation on national airspace policy.
Concentrated flight paths bring a flood of complaints
30.8.2016 (Hacan East press release)
London City Airport’s decision to concentrate all its flights paths earlier this year has resulted in a flood of complaints. HACAN East, which gives a voice to residents under the flight paths, today launched a short report outlining some of the complaints they received in just one month.
John Stewart, chair of the campaign group, said, “We have received dozens of complaints over the last month. The hot weather has made people particularly aware of the planes. The concentrated flight paths have brought complaints from many areas for the first time. The complaints have come from vast swathes of east and south east London.”
One person in south London said, “We have gone from having little or no flights to one every 3 minutes. Some of us have spent a lifetime trying to get on the housing ladder only for this to happen.”
Another wrote: “I moved to Dagenham from Kingsland Road in Hackney in 2014 because my family & I wanted more peace and quiet; now it’s noisier than living on Kingsland Road in Hackney; we are heart-broken.”
Stewart said that HACAN East has met with the airport who said they ‘have not closed their mind’ to looking again at the concentrated flight paths but will not do so until next year after the Government has issued its forthcoming consultation on national airspace policy.
The report is at
Some extracts from the HACAN East report:
“London City Airport concentrated its flights paths in February 2016. It had argued that people would notice very little difference. It was wrong. This short report reveals, using residents’ own words, just what an impact it has had.
“HACAN East, who compiled the report, met with the airport in the summer where it made clear that it has not closed its mind to looking again at the flight paths with a view to introducing an element of respite in order to give the overflown communities relief from the noise. But that it unlikely to happen before 2017.
“London City recently got permission to expand the airport: to build a new taxiway and larger parking bays and to extend the terminal. The cap of 111,000 annual movements was not lifted but the expansion will allow the airport to accommodate larger planes (which it maintains will be quieter).”
“These are just a sample of the complaints that have come in from far and wide. Barking Reach, Stockwell, Catford…..the list goes on. Not one email has called for the flight path to be moved elsewhere. This is not a NIMBY protest.
“What people are wanting is a little bit of fairness. We are pleased that London City Airport may be willing to introduce some respite. The airport told HACAN East that it will assess the current flight paths by February 2017.
“The CAA will comment on that assessment by May 2017. By then it should also be clear what Government policy is on concentrated flight paths and respite. After that City Airport has indicated that the door could be open to some sort of respite solution.
“Heathrow Airport has commissioned a major report into what meaningful respite would look like. It is expected to be published in spring 2017. After that Heathrow will begin to draw up and consult on new flight paths of which respite is expected to be an integral part. This will happen whether or not Heathrow is given the green light for a third runway.
“HACAN, our sister organisation, has engaged closely with Heathrow in promoting a respite-based solution for the airport. HACAN East is working closely with local authorities, MPs and other key decision-makers to build up support for a similar solution at London City. The common-sense solution would be for Heathrow and London City to work out a London-wide respite solution covering both airports. ”
A little bit of history:
“For the first 20 years of London City Airport’s existence, flight paths remained much the same. But then things changed in 2008/9. At least there were changes for certain areas. The original owners of the airport had been given permission to build on the condition that only small planes used it, given the fact it was so close to residential areas.
“But over the years that permission was overturned. By 2008 the jets using the airport could not take-off at such a tight angle as the smaller planes. So, with little meaningful consultation, aircraft were given permission to take-off in a wider arc, bringing a significant number of planes to places like Leyton, Leytonstone and Wanstead for the first time.
“When the airport wanted to concentrate its flight paths in 2014/15, it argued that it did not need to consult widely because the flight paths would not be that different from those introduced in 2008/9. Residents argued that they were very different from the flight paths many of them had grown up with prior to 2008.
“In South London the difference was even greater. Prior to the introduction of the concentrated flight paths London City aircraft did not cause real problems in most of South London as the flights were pretty dispersed.
“London City Airport came under sustained criticism for the quality of its consultation on the concentrated flight paths. It simply put a technical document on its website and informed the Airport Consultative Committee in what appears to have been a private session.
“It held no public meetings in the areas that would be affected; nor did it leaflet them. It argued that it was simply following the consultation procedure set out by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Lawyers consulted by HACAN East said that might have been correct; certainly it would be costly to challenge.
“However, shortly after the CAA gave City Airport permission to concentrate its flight paths, an independent report commissioned by the CAA from Helios slated the CAA’s procedures. As a result, the CAA is looking to introduce new procedures.”
Changes brought in by NATS on February 4th means new noise ghettos in east London
February 4, 2016
On 4th February, NATS implemented the first phase of its LAMP (London Airspace Management Programme). It says this was approved by the CAA in November 2015. It means that routes into and out of London City airport will be altered, and routes will be concentrated – using PR-NAV (precision navigation). The changes involve use of a “point merge” system for arrivals, with the joining points to the ILS out at sea. They will mean all the planes from Westerly departures will be routed over for Bow, Leyton, Leytonstone, Wanstead, Redbridge, Barkingside, Collier Row and Harold Hill. For Easterly departures, all the planes will be routed over Barking Riverside, Dagenham, Elm park and Hornchurch. And for Easterly arrivals, all the planes will be routed over Bexley, Sidcup, New Eltham, Mottingham, Catford, Dulwich Village, Herne Hill, Brixton, Stockwell and Vauxhall. The changes are described by NATS in glowing terms – about “more efficient flights, saving fuel and reducing CO2 emissions, reducing noise, keeping aircraft higher for longer and minimising areas regularly overflown.” And, of course, enabling more flights to be crammed into crowded airspace – to enable the aviation industry to increase the number of flights. HACAN East is talking to its lawyers about a JR against the CAA for failure to consult.
and more news stories about London City Airport, including about its new flight paths, at