Gatwick publishes its response to the Arrivals Review – accepting all 23 recommendations

At the end of January, an Independent Arrivals Review was completed by Bo Redeborn. Gatwick was required to publish details comments on this, by 31st March, which they have done. Gatwick says it accepts all the 23 recommendations, though under some of the recommendations there is a long Benefits/Issues section, with various caveats. Some of the recommendations were relatively uncontroversial. Perhaps the most controversial was Recommendation 10, “for aircraft to be vectored to be established on the ILS at a minimum of 8nm (nautical miles)from touchdown outside of night hours, rather than the current 10nm.” Also that “the arrival swathe would normally extend from a minimum of 8nm to 14nm, with aircraft joining on a straight in approach when traffic permits.” This would mean less noise for some areas but perhaps more for those living around 8nm from the runway. Gatwick says: “GAL is minded to accept this recommendation. But its implementation is a complex matter and GAL will therefore seek to ensure that its impact is fully understood before a final decision is taken.” Gatwick agrees to improve its dreadful complaints system, and set up in Independent Noise Monitoring Board, though this would probably include only 2 community and 2 local council representatives. There will now be a 6 week public consultation until 16th May.


Read Gatwick’s response

Gatwick responds to Arrivals Review

31.3.2016 (Gatwick Airport press release)

  • Gatwick calls review ‘very constructive’ and accepts all 23 recommendations
  • Critical path established for implementation of each recommendation
  • Bo Redeborn proposed to chair new independent Noise Management Board

Gatwick Airport has today published a detailed response to the Independent Arrivals Review which was concluded in January.

In its response, Gatwick has accepted or is minded to accept all of the recommendations of the Review. The airport has published an action plan for the implementation of each recommendation, although in some cases further refinement may be needed after more detailed technical and planning work with other stakeholders, and after analysis of community feedback.

The publication of this plan by the end of March fulfils one of the recommendations of the Review. Gatwick has allotted six weeks for local community feedback and to allow all those who took part in the Review to consider its proposed action plan. In some instances, preparatory work has already begun enabling the implementation of recommendations to be completed as soon as possible.

One recommendation of the Review was to put in place an independent Noise Management Board including the main aviation stakeholders and representatives of local communities. This recommendation has been accepted and Bo Redeborn, who led the Review, is being proposed by Gatwick to be the first Chairman of the NMB. Graham Lake, who worked together with Bo on the Review, has been retained by Gatwick as part of a team established to take forward the recommendations.

Gatwick Airport Chairman Sir Roy McNulty said:

“The independent Arrivals Review has proved to be a very constructive process and I am very pleased both by the positive nature of its recommendations and by the positive reception it has received. We have published today an implementation plan for each recommendation and I believe that in aggregate these actions will make a significant difference to the noise impacts experienced by residents around the airport.

“So that the very constructive engagement established by the Review will continue in the future we are keen to establish the independent Noise Management Board it recommended as soon as possible. I think most people have been impressed by the balanced and judicious manner in which Bo conducted the Review and there seems to be strong support for the proposal that he be the first chairman of the independent Noise Management Board. Gatwick is committed to making that Board a successful and effective influence in the management of noise issues in future and we will give it whatever help it needs to make that happen.

“Gatwick has also noted the Review’s recommendation in respect of the in-house resources necessary to implement its proposals. We have already established a team to do this and will be adding further resources in the near future. Once we have assessed community feedback and any further comment from the stakeholders involved in this Review, we will be in a very good position to take swift and effective action on its recommendations.”

Bo Redeborn, who led the Arrivals Review, said:

“I was very pleased by the response of all those concerned to the Arrivals Review and I am now delighted that Gatwick has announced that it will accept all of our recommendations.

“There is clearly a good deal of work to be done to bring this about and I am very pleased to have been proposed to be Chairman of the independent Noise Management Board.

“In that role, one of the first things I would be doing is to monitor how Gatwick, and the other stakeholders who contributed to this Review, implement the recommendations that have now been accepted.”


Gatwick Airport’s response to the Arrivals Review can be read here.

Each recommendation has the text of the recommendation; details of Gatwick’s acceptance of it; a section discussing Benefits/Issues; a box with details of the Implementation Plan; who is responsible; and the date when it should be completed.


Feedback can be provided to Gatwick Airport up to 16 May 2016 by email –

– or by post:

Gatwick Airport Arrivals Review


c/o PPS Group

Sky Light City Tower

50 Basinghall Street

London EC2V 5DE.

The most contentious recommendation is number 10


“That GAL explores 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 will extend the arrival swathe 2nm further to the west for Runway 26, and east for Runway 08, and will increase the arrivals dispersal to more closely emulate the circumstances prior to 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”.


GAL is minded to accept this recommendation. But its implementation is a complex matter and GAL will therefore seek to ensure that its impact is fully understood before a final decision is taken. Implementation is a matter for NATS, so GAL will also seek confirmation from NATS as to when the recommendation can be implemented, as intended by the authors of the Report.


To address the concerns arising from the increased concentration of arrivals that occurred in some locations after a change of radar vectoring methodology in early 2013, an adjustment of the present swathe is proposed to reduce the increased concentration of aircraft that resulted from that change.

The intended impact of this action would be to recreate a greater geographical dispersal of arriving aircraft tracks, so that they are more closely aligned with the arrivals tracks which existed at Gatwick prior to 2013.

The benefit is expected to be a reduced concentration of arriving aircraft in the swathe, prior to joining the final approach track, supporting the fairer and more equitable dispersal of aircraft sought by many communities.

Because the associated considerations are complex, a more detailed explanation of the issues is provided as an appendix to this action item.


Implementation Plan

1. Complete a thorough analysis of the issues described in the appendix to this action item.

2. Assess feedback from the period of community engagement.

3. Subject to the outcome of that further analysis, GAL to request NATS to utilise the increased swathe from minimum 8 nm to 14 nm when straight in approach is not applied, for arrivals to both Runway 26 and Runway 08.

Responsibility: GAL

Complete: June 2016

4. If, following further analysis, the recommendation is implemented, the NMB will monitor the impact to verify that the intended fair and equitable dispersal is being achieved.

Responsibility: GAL

Complete: December 2016.


Appendix on Recommendation 10


This recommendation is intended to reverse much of the aircraft concentration and noise consequences of the approach stabilisation initiative taken by GAL and NATS in 2013, by restoring as far as possible the distribution of arriving aircraft that occurred previously.

The approach stabilisation initiative of 2013, adopted for both safety and operational reasons, extended the daytime ILS final approach minimum joining point of aircraft from 7nm to 10nm from touchdown. The night time minimum joining point has been located at 10nm (23:30- 06:00 local time) since before 2004.

The unforeseen effect of this 2013 change was to concentrate daytime arrivals into a narrower swathe, increasing the number of aircraft ‘above’ or ‘over’ particular areas. The effect is discernible in the graphics below, which depicts the actual arrivals track density for Runway 08 and 26, measured in the summer of 2012, contrasted with the same period in 2015.

GAL rec 10 appendix maps of changes
Many requests were made by residents to the Arrivals Review, seeking to reverse the 2013
change. Residents making these requests explained that the prior arrangement (for random radar vectors to the ILS final approach track, both east and west of Gatwick) was an acceptable means of fairly and equitably dispersing aircraft noise.

This proposed action calls for an adaptation to NATS radar vectoring methodology using an
ILS joining point located between a minimum of 8nm from touchdown and 14nm, which will
in effect largely recreate both the locations and width of the arrival swathes used at Gatwick
before 2013.

When traffic conditions permit, 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.

Associated considerations

• The achievement of fair and equitable dispersal throughout the swathe
• Requests made by some residents to establish radar exclusion zones around
individual towns and villages, and to avoid increased flying over built up areas
• The impact of this proposed arrivals arrangement when combined with departure

The changes made in 2013 were subject to a safety assessment which now precludes a return to an even closer minimum joining point, at 7nm.

An updated safety case will be required before any reduction to the 10nm ILS joining point can be made.

The concept of additional radar exclusion (“nofly”) zones was rejected by the Arrivals Review,
firstly because of the lack of any rational and fair basis on which to select one community
for exclusion over another, but also because it seems unlikely that such a zone is operationally deliverable because of vertical constraints imposed by the need for Gatwick arrivals to be held below Heathrow traffic.

The Review also concluded that it was unlikely that such a zone could in practice deliver any meaningful noise relief.

The precise details of any implementation resulting from this recommendation, including
the planned use of the full swathe and the distance from touchdown of the minimum joining
point will be subject to further discussions between NATS and the CAA.

In particular, a review by GAL and NATS of the implications of any overlap of arrival and departure routes below 4000 feet will be necessary when considering the implementation of this recommendation, in order to avoid undue and unintended noise impacts.

Pages 14 – 16 of—response-document-action-plan-final-31mar2016.pdf


It would appear that the Arrivals Review worked closed with Gatwick airport, and ensured that none of its recommendations would be too onerous for the airport to meet.  AirportWatch comment




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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