John Stewart: There is a better solution than mixed mode at Heathrow for both BAA and residents
From 1 July the Government has given BAA permission to use the “wrong” runway to prevent delays building up. There will not be an overall increase in the number of flights in and out of Heathrow but residents will lose their respite period. People living under the flight paths in to Heathrow will suffer more noise, as their quiet half of the day now has aircraft landings coming in overhead. Though Theresa Villiers has stressed that the Government remains committed to a policy of no further expansion at Heathrow, and no mixed mode, residents fear that the industry will see this as an opening to push for the eventual ending of the respite period. Heathrow’s problem is operating at 99% capacity, but if larger planes were used, then the capacity situation would be eased.
John Stewart: There is a better solution for both BAA and residents
Comment – in the Independent.
by JOHN STEWART
The next nine months could become a “trial by noise” for residents under the Heathrow flightpaths. Normally they get half a day’s break from the noise as aircraft switch runways at 3pm.
But from 1 July the Government has given BAA, the owner of the airport, permission to use the “wrong” runway to prevent delays building up. There will not be an overall increase in the number of flights in and out of Heathrow but residents will lose their respite period.
Although the Aviation minister, Theresa Villiers, has stressed that the Government remains committed to a policy of no further expansion at Heathrow, residents fear that the industry will see this as an opening to push for the eventual ending of the respite period. For the 725,000 residents who live under the Heathrow flightpaths that could mean a plane passing overhead every 90 seconds virtually throughout the day.
It cannot be denied that delays are a problem at Heathrow, but BAA has come up with the wrong solution. The main reason for the delays is that BAA is operating the airport at 99 per cent capacity. This gives it no leeway when something goes wrong. It would be much more sensible to operate at no more than 90 per cent capacity, as happens at most other airports in Europe.
Of course this would mean fewer planes using the airport, but, critically, it wouldn’t necessarily reduce the number of passengers because the trend is towards larger aircraft. Fewer planes could cut delays for passengers and noise for residents. It would be a win-win situation all-round.
John Stewart is the chairman of the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN).
This comment refers to Independent article:
Simon Calder, in the Independent, sets out how allowing mixed mode at Heathrow would increase its capacity
June 23, 2012 Click here to view full story…
“Operational freedoms” trial at Heathrow to be extended by 6 months to March 2013
May 15, 2012 The trial that was originally planned for three months over the summer from 1st July is now to be extended to March 2013. It also looks as if there will be more early morning landings between 0500 and 0600 in exchange for fewer between 0430 and 0500. Theresa Villiers’ statement says: “Aircraft scheduled to arrive after 0600 will be permitted 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. This is expected to delay the onset of noise disturbance to local communities in the early morning period and enhance the resilience of the schedule”. Also departing aircraft may be re-directed (radar vectored) by air traffic control from their normal routes of departure. And the cap on the more flexible use of dual arrivals allowed as part of the trial will be raised from 6 to 12 per hour. Click here to view full story…
BAA Heathrow Operational Trial November 2011 to March 2012 and during the Olympics
People living under Heathrow flight paths face increased noise after the introduction of new runway rules. BAA is to trial a scheme allowing the use of both runways simultaneously from July to Sept 2012. Currently, those living under the flight path have a respite from noise when the runways alternate at 3pm. Under the trial, which will also run from November to February, the threshold for triggering emergency dual use of the runways will be lowered. Residents could face increased noise from losing some of their respite periods. More details …..