Error in Gatwick Route 4 flight track-keeping figures undermines trust in airport
Error in Gatwick flight figures undermines trust in airport
Gatwick Airport have always maintained they are ‘good neighbours’ but it is becoming increasingly clear that as a commercial enterprise Gatwick have their own agenda and are single minded about achieving their growth and bottom line profit. Gatwick have been reporting that route 4, the busiest departure route out of the airport, has significantly improved its track-keeping throughout 2018. The experiences of local supporters of campaign group, Plane Wrong, have suggested the contrary.
Plane Wrong chair, Mike Ward, on analysing the data provided by Gatwick chiefs, identified a huge flaw in the reporting. In a letter to Gatwick he states the following, ‘I have finally answered my own question as to why the Route 4 performance figures are looking so much better than previously. The answer is simple. They are wrong.’
It has now come to light that from January 2018 Gatwick has mis-calculated the percentage of aircraft flying outside the designated route. They have now admitted that instead of the 1-2% claimed and published on their website, the actual level of non-compliance was up to 8%.
This brings to light a broader question, the fact that such a basic error has gone undetected for eight months speaks volumes about the inadequacy of Gatwick’s controls and the low priority Gatwick apparently give to providing the public with reliable information. Not only is this a failing of Gatwick, the noise and track-keeping monitoring group, NATMAG, also failed to pick this up.
This demonstrates a business that has total disregard for local communities and the effect of air traffic growth on local surroundings, environment and noise pollution. The increase in volume of passengers departing from Gatwick in the past 4 years has grown in the region of 25% without consultation or taking into account the impact on local communities, health and well-being.
National media report that Gatwick are working on a ‘stealth’ second runway, which they have carefully kept under wraps. If Gatwick cannot keep control of their aircraft on just one route currently, how can communities trust them to run one of the largest airports in the south east?