CAA approves so-called “environmentally friendly” changes to Stansted Airport take-offs
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has approved changes to ensure aircraft departing from Stansted to the south-east will climb higher sooner – slightly reducing fuel burn and CO2 emissions. This is part of major airspace changes approved by the CAA, as part of the FAS (Future Airspace Strategy) which is set to modernise UK airspace by 2020. The Stansted plans, which are included in the LAMP (London Airspace Management Programme) phase 1A, were submitted to the CAA by NATS, and followed a public consultation between October 2013 and January 2014. The FAS is the UK part of the wider European changes, under SESAR (Single European Sky), which hopes to improve airspace infrastructure to make its management more efficient, reduce fuel burn. It would also, by faster climbs and continuous descent approaches, slightly reduce the amount of aircraft noise for those over-flown. The aim, however, is it maximise use of airspace, enable more planes to fly in the same airspace, and save the airline industry time and therefore money. The Stansted route change approved is for more departures to go via Clacton to a point off the north-east corner of Kent (over the sea).
CAA approves environmentally friendly changes to Stansted Airport take-offs
26.11.2015 (Herts & East Essex Observer)
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today (Thursday) approved changes to ensure aircraft departing from Stansted to the south-east will climb higher sooner – reducing fuel burn and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
The move is part of major airspace changes approved by the CAA making airline flights more efficient by removing 30,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
The plans, known collectively as the London Airspace Management Programme (LAMP) phase 1a, were submitted to the CAA by NATS, the air traffic service provider, and followed consultation with the public between October 2013 and January 2014.
It is the first significant change as part of the UK’s Future Airspace Strategy (FAS), which is set to modernise airspace by 2020. This is part of a European project to improve airspace infrastructure to deliver a more efficient use of airspace and enable environmental improvements, including fuel and CO2 savings by aircraft flying more direct routes and with faster climbs and descents reducing impact on overflown householders.
In total, five changes have been approved which will see newly designed and more efficient flight paths implemented on February 4 next year, helping to improve capacity, minimise delays for air travellers and further enhancing safety.
For Stansted, the departure switch will transfer the bulk of southerly departures via Detling in Kent to the south-east of the airport via Clacton to a point off the north-east corner of Kent (over the sea).
The changes cover an area from Stansted to the Isle of Wight, including parts of Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Kent, Sussex and Hampshire. Changes will affect commercial aircraft using London City, Stansted, Luton, Southampton, Bournemouth, Northolt and Biggin Hill airports.
Phil Roberts, head of airspace, air traffic management and aerodromes at the CAA, said: “The changes we have approved today will bring significant benefits to both air passengers and many communities currently overflown by aircraft.
“We absolutely understand that aircraft noise disturbs many people. These changes move significant numbers of flights away from populated areas and will reduce overall emissions.
“As we have done with this decision, we will continue to consider the environmental impact of all our airspace decisions and have called on the aviation industry and other decision-makers to be much more ambitious in confronting aviation’s environmental challenges.”
Each year the Future Airspace Strategy aims to
- Save over 160,000 tonnes of fuel (with an estimate net present value to airlines of £907m to £1.17bn out to 2030);
- Save over 1.4m minutes of airline’s time, reducing maintenance and crew costs (with an estimate net present value to airlines of £338m – £441m out to 2030);
- Save over 1.1m minutes of passenger delay;
- Save over 500,000 tonnes of aviation CO2 emissions;
- Enhance safety by reducing controller and pilot workload.
A Stansted Airport spokesman said: “We recognise the importance of NATS’ (National Air Traffic Services) London Airspace Management Programme (LAMP) which aims to modernise UK’s airspace around London in order to improve efficiency and reduce environmental impacts.
“Phase 1 of the project, which incorporates airspace changes at a number of South East airports, will enable a more efficient operation at Stansted for our airlines, helping reduce delays, carbon emissions and allow continuous climb departures. A safe and effective airspace system both in the UK and overseas is an essential factor in allowing aviation to grow and reduce its environmental impacts.”
CAA approve various airspace changes, but review of the airspace change process is under way
The CAA has the ultimate ability to approve changes to airspace and flight paths. There is a long process through which proposed changes have to go, including development of the proposal, the preparation of the public consultation, collating and analysing the responses, modifying the airspace design if necessary, providing feedback to consultees, decision by the CAA, implementation of the change, and then operational review a year after its introduction. There is currently a review under way, by the aviation consultancy, Helios, of the CAA’s process for changing use of airspace. It is looking at strengths/weaknesses in the process, possible improvements, including better transparency and accountability. Before any reform of the airspace change process is implemented, the CAA will hold a public consultation – expected before spring 2016. Meanwhile, the CAA has approved some airspace changes, covering eastern and southern England. They say these “will enable aircraft to fly more efficiently, help reduce the number of low-level flights and reduce the environmental impact of aviation.” The aim is to save money/fuel for airlines, and thus reduce CO2 emissions. The intention is also, where possible, to slightly reduce noise exposure.