CAGNE fears Arrivals Review proposal to change joining point to ILS could bring noise misery for many

CAGNE is a group set up to support and represent residents, especially those in west Sussex, affected by Gatwick’s operations to the west of the airport. While welcoming many of the recommendations by the Gatwick Arrivals Review, published last week, CAGNE is concerned about some recommendations. The Review proposed that when there is no wind, or light wind only, that the airport operates more flights on easterly operations (meaning landings approach from the west, and take off the east). CAGNE fears this would expose more residents well to the west of Gatwick to more arrivals noise. The Review also recommended that arrivals should join the ILS (the final straight line approach to the runway) nearer to the runway. In 2013, the CAA changed the distance of the joining point from around 7 – 12 nautical miles out to around 10 – 12 nautical miles, claiming this was for safety. The Review suggests returning this to 8 nautical miles. The impact of this would be that people living 7 – 9 nautical miles or so (about 8 – 10 miles) from the runway would suffer more noise. Some of these people have either not had plane noise before, or not had it for two or three years. Most of the people affected will be unaware of the proposed change, and they have not been consulted. CAGNE wants to raise awareness of the proposed change, and ensure people know the details of how they would be affected – so they can comment.

Gatwick’s Arrival Review Team Proposes Double Misery for Residents

1.2.2016 (CAGNE)

Residents that are hit by Gatwick’s constant stream of departing aircraft to the west are now to be subjected to easterly arrivals at 3,000ft, the Gatwick Airport arrival review report proposes.

It is also proposed that West Sussex, and parts of Surrey, should take arrival aircraft from the east when wind conditions permit. [Around 30% of the time, the winds do not come from the west. Gatwick tends to keep some of the planes, even in these conditions, landing from the east. The review said more could be landed from the west. AW note]  increasing the number of arrivals that these residents will be subjected to day and night, as the review also offers no respite from night flights.(Section on this, from the Review copied below).

“These residents would have been totally unaware of the arrival review and what it is recommending. The join to the final approach (ILS*) was set at 12 miles out from the runway approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We were told this was for safety reason. The joining point further out from the runway could enable planes to approach higher and quieter on their final descent, by CDA (Continuous Descent Approach). This proposal will move the joining point closer to the runway, just some 8 nautical miles out, [about 15 km]  as well as subjecting these residents to aircraft turning (vectoring) which is when they are at their noisiest,” said Sally Pavey, Chair of CAGNE that helps residents of West Sussex and Surrey.

“Gatwick’s Arrivals Review Team did not provide residents with any mapping to how this change would affect them prior to the issuing of their report. The residents who will be affected by the closer joining point to the ILS are already suffering noise from departures at 3,000ft. They are now expected to receive a constant stream of arrivals at a similar height.”

“CAGNE will now take this matter up with the Chair of Gatwick Airport as we feel that these residents suffer enough.  We are angry at this arrival proposal, especially as it is proposed that the review recommendations should be implemented by March this year,” said Sally.

“Eventually this proposal will bring three concentrated flight path corridors, using PBN, over rural communities of West Sussex and Surrey.”

Areas likely to be affected – Warnham, Kingsfold, Winterfold, Rowhook, Slinfold, Barnes Green, Southwater and potentially Horsham.

The report did offer some positive points:

– The formation of an independent noise body
– A320 aircraft at Gatwick are all to be retro fitted by 2017 resulting in a removal of the whine noise
– Holding stacks are to be higher or moved out to sea
– Introduction of Times Arrivals, Whereby aircraft are slowed oversea to avoid holding stacks, as well as avoiding the introduction of Point Merge for arrivals
– Land Use Management – no new houses should be built close to flight paths
– Continuous Descent Approach – to be raised to 7,000ft, increasing to 8,000ft
– Noise complaint procedure to be changed to record all complaints
– Noise metrics of recording noise events being inadequate is also mentioned

Earlier in the year the CAA PIR Review on Gatwick departures dismissed the issues that West Sussex residents have with the increase in noise resulting from the introduction of PR-NAV (concentrated flight paths) on all departure routes by Gatwick Airport in May 2015.

CAGNE will continue to work with NATS and Gatwick to call for a review of departures to alleviate the misery caused departing aircraft.  CAGNE will also work to ensure this proposal by the Arrivals Review, to move the joining point to the ILS is not taken forward, when many residents believe a return to full dispersal is required.

Sally commented that she has had it confirmed from the office of the CEO of the CAA that the proposal to bring the joining point nearer the runway will have a major environmentally impact. Also that it is unfair on those that have never been impacted by concentration before as they only had dispersal.
It will bring the planes in below 3,000ft, because inevitably the closer the joining point to the ILS is to the runway, the lower the planes. These same people already suffer departures at 3,000ft. This is unfair and unacceptable. To make matters worse, the swathe will be flown (as now) on the inner edge by ATC as this saves the airlines fuel. The flights will not be dispersed, as there is no requirement to do so under current policy. EasyJet and NATS agree the change will have a big impact on new areas.
Sally Pavey believed there is likely to be the same problem for those residents to the east of runway, 7 – 9 miles or so out, that do not have group representing them – East Grinstead will be impacted.

Resident wishing to object to the arrivals review proposals should write to:  (CEO of Gatwick airport) and (Leader of West Sussex Council) as well as their local council representatives.

*ILS stands for Instrument Landing System – the straight line approach in the final miles to the runway.

1 nautical mile is about 1.15 miles.

8 nautical miles is about 15 kilometers  (9.2 miles)

10 nautical miles is about 18.5 km. (11.5 miles)

12 nautical miles is about 22 km. (13.8 miles)


The map below, taken from a Gatwick consultation document, gives an indication of roughly where 8 nautical miles (about 15 km) and 12 nautical miles (about 22 km) are in relation to the airport. (Black lines added by AirportWatch).

Joining distances from the west 8 and 12 nm 15 and 22 km


GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign) comment on the change proposed by the Arrivals Review:

“One of the recommendations is, however, likely to prove controversial. This is that arriving aircraft join the straight-in ‘glide-slope’ at not less than 8 nautical miles and not more than 14 miles from the airport, instead of 10-14 miles (mainly 12-14) at present.  Although this would help to ensure a more ‘fair and equitable’ distribution of flights – sharing the misery – the effect of the change would be to bring aircraft in at a lower level over a number of communities closer to the airport both to the east and to the west. These places have not had aircraft overhead before, or not for some years.

“It is not clear whether this change will require formal consultation so that the people adversely affected can have their say.”


CAGNE is a forum for concerned residents to exchange information and has individual smaller groups working to raise awareness in their specific parish.

CAGNE is free to join and has members from Warnham, Rusper, Kingsfold, Rowhook, Broadbridge Heath, Slinfold Parishes plus areas of North Horsham.

CAGNE, Communities Against Noise and Emissions, was formed in February 2014 as a result of Gatwick Airport’s new flight path (ADNID) over an area not previously over flown by planes (Warnham Parish).

Arrivals Review for Gatwick suggests a range of measures to slightly reduce the noise problem

The Arrivals Review, by Bo Redeborn and Graham Lake, has now been published. It has made a series of recommendations for ways in which the aircraft noise problem might be slightly reduced – without limiting the capacity of the airport at all. These recommendations are copied below. The report is wide-ranging, with a lot of issues covered. Below just what is says on four topics (chosen arbitrarily by AirportWatch, to give a taster of the report) is included. These are 1). The decision to move the joining point onto the ILS to be a minimum of 8nm from touchdown, rather than the 10nm used at present. 2). Changing the way Gatwick uses its runway in nil or low wind. 3). Deterring flights being delayed to take-offs occur during the night period, as a Key Performance Indicator. 4). The noise complaints policy needs to be improved. (The review comments: “the current limit of one noise complaint per day per household is considered wholly unacceptable by those residents addressing this issue with the review. It is easy to understand their point of view.”) They propose: “that Gatwick should establish an enhanced complaints policy with no daily limit and a fully transparent procedure, as soon as possible, using an on-line form as the sole electronic complaint registration medium.” The Review also recommends the establishment of a Noise Management Board (NMB) by summer 2016.

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The section of the Arrivals Review that recommended more flights in low wind approaching from the west is copied below:

Operations in Nil or Low Wind

Page  61

“Normally, an aircraft will land and take off into wind unless safety, the runway configuration, or air traffic conditions determine that a different direction is preferable. In selecting the runway-in-use, the unit providing aerodrome control service (Gatwick Tower) takes into consideration, besides surface wind speed and direction, other relevant factors such as upper winds, the lengths of runway available, and the serviceability of approach and landing aids.

At Gatwick, as in the rest of the UK, the prevailing wind is westerly and therefore the reported long term average allocation of runway in use is 70:30 in favour of westerly operations 47 (landing towards the west), and it is not unusual to experience periods of prolonged operation in either one direction or another.  This means that arriving aircraft can use a particular landing direction for many days or even weeks without change, hence providing little respite to residents. The Flight Performance Team report contains detail.  (48. Link)

A characteristic of surface wind, subject to the wider meteorological situation, is that it tends to erode or disappear in the late evening. There will therefore be occasions, normally but not exclusively at night, when wind conditions would permit a change of landing direction, thereby potentially delivering respite for residents experiencing both arriving and departure noise.

It is the opinion of the review that an operating protocol should be developed, published and adopted by GAL to define the criteria and occasions when a change of landing direction could be implemented at Gatwick for noise reasons, when weather and other conditions permit. The objective of the protocol would be to achieve a more even split of arrivals, and to fragment the otherwise continuous use of one runway direction or another because of long term weather patterns. This is particularly relevant, but not limited, to the peak arrival hours that occur in the evening. The target implementation should be before the peak summer period 2016, which
has been reported to the review team as a sensitive time for residents concerned about aircraft noise.”
The Review therefore recommends:

The development, publication and implementation by GAL of an operating protocol to define the occasions when a change of landing direction will be implemented at Gatwick for noise reasons, if weather, safety requirements and other conditions permit. The objective of the protocol being to achieve a more even split of arrivals, and to fragment the otherwise continuous use of one runway direction or another because of long term weather patterns. The impact should be monitored by GAL and the results regularly reviewed by the Noise Management Board (NMB).The target implementation of the protocol should be during 2016 following engagement with airlines, air traffic control and communities.



The section from the Arrivals Review on change to the point where planes  join the ILS is below:

Arrival Procedures – and the change to 8nm joining point:

Page 57   Link 

“As noted previously, the approach stabilisation initiative of 2013, implemented primarily for safety reasons but also for capacity improvement, extended the daytime ILS joining point from 7nm to 10nm. The minimum joining point has been located at 10nm at night (23:30-06:00 local time) since before 2004. The CAA recognizing that aircraft are both higher and benefit from a longer stable approach through use of a 10 mile join, agreed that the
change to 10nm minimum join during the day was a safety improvement and hence the change was supported.

Many residents reported to the review that they have asked both GAL and NATS to reverse the 2013 change of vectoring methodology, thereby returning the minimum ILS join distance to 7nm. These requests were also widely made to the review team. The review has confirmed that increasing the size of the arrival swathe is expected to deliver overall noise improvements for those on the ground.

An adaptation to radar vectoring methodology using an ILS join point minimum of 8nm from touchdown should extend the arrival swathe 2nm further to the west for Runway 26 and correspondingly to the east for Runway 08 arrivals while still enabling the safety objectives of the previous change. If implemented, the effect will be to increase the arrivals dispersal to more closely emulate the circumstances the prior to 2013 position. Hence the arrival swathe would normally extend from a minimum of 8nm to 14nm. When traffic permits, aircraft from the east for Runway 26 will join on a straight in approach even further east, and for 08, straight-in further from the west. The CAA has indicated that on request from GAL and NATS that it will consider this subject to normal process.

These measures, if implemented, should go a long way towards restoring the arrivals situation to a level of dispersal seen prior to 2015. Proposals to resolve other underlying noise management questions are identified later in this report in Section 4, dealing with noise planning and coordination.”

The Review therefore recommends: 

That GAL explore with NATS the potential for aircraft to be vectored to be established on the ILS at a minimum of 8nm from touchdown outside of night hours, rather than the current 10nm.  This adaptation to vectoring methodology should extend the arrival swathe 2nm closer to the airport and increase the arrivals dispersal to more closely emulate the operations prior to the 2013 change.  Hence the arrival swathe would normally extend from a minimum of 8nm to 14nm, with aircraft joining on a straight in approach when traffic permits.