Gatwick Chairman confirms no public disclosure of flight paths until after the public consultation of the Gatwick Arrivals Review closes

Arrivals Review team member, Graham Lake, and Sir Roy McNulty, Chairman of Gatwick, confirmed that ‘mapping’ of the proposed flight path routes proposed by the Review will not be disclosed until after the public consultation closes (ends 16th May). This statement was made at the Gatwick Arrivals Review community meeting on 26th April. There is concern that without any input from affected communities or other organisations, it will only be NATS and Gatwick that have any say over how the arrivals flight paths are set. Many residents affected by Gatwick aircraft noise have little trust in the airport, after being let down. But they are being asked to comment on the consultation without vital information. Gatwick said in 2012 that if the impact of PRNAV routes was too “detrimental”, then they should be withdrawn. However, there is no indication this is being followed. People living near the airport and already getting the noise of narrow departure routes are concerned that they may also get the noise from narrow approach routes. The CAA has confirmed that there is nothing in the Arrivals Review to stop arriving flights joining the final approach (the ILS) continuing to be placed in narrow ‘swathes’, as they are now. Narrowing the swathes for arrivals and departures enables more planes to use the runway per unit time.


Gatwick Chairman confirms no public disclosure of flight paths until after the public consultation of the Gatwick Arrivals Review closes


By (CAGNE – Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions)

The Chairman of Gatwick, Sir Roy McNulty, has confirmed to CAGNE that the ‘mapping’ of the proposed flight path routes in the Arrivals Review will not be disclosed to the public until after the Review public consultation closes.

CAGNE and Sir Roy McNulty

Sir Roy McNulty Chairman of Gatwick Airport with CAGNE members (from left to right) Helen Reeves, from the East of the runway, Sally Pavey Chair of CAGNE, and Bill Sorrell from the west.

Arrivals Review team member, Graham Lake, confirmed that ‘mapping’ of the proposed flight path routes in the Review will not be disclosed to the public until after the Review public consultation closes. [Ends on 16 th May 2016. Link ]  This statement was made at the Gatwick Arrivals Review community meeting on 26th April.

Without any input from the public or other organisations, it will only be NATS and Gatwick that have any say over how the mapping of flight paths is set for arrivals.

Other important facts from the meeting:

  • The CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) confirmed that there is nothing in the Arrivals Review to stop arriving flights joining the final approach – the ILS (Instrument Landing System) to continue to be placed in narrow ‘swathes’, as they are now.
  •  CAA also confirmed that this would enable more airline slots for Gatwick.
  •  NATS (which owns and operates air traffic control) confirmed that those communities that suffer arrivals above 4,000ft might not see any change either, as Government policy above that height is ‘concentration and to save CO2’, NOT ‘noise’. link
  • Gatwick intends to work with NATS to decide upon the arrival routing without reference to affected communities.

In response to the findings, Chair of CAGNE, Sally Pavey, said, “Expecting communities to agree to undisclosed flight paths is asking them to trust Gatwick. Sadly, due to Gatwick’s past performance, we do not trust them to be ‘fair and equitable’ with the distribution of arrivals”.

She added, “Residents were assured that if ‘concentration’ on departures had adverse effects on communities, flights would go back to how we use to know them – randomly distributed. However, after many organisation have requested a reversal, ‘concentration’ remains unchanged and those on the ground are inflicted with unacceptable levels of aircraft noise”. (See Gatwick consultation July 2012  Link  Page 12 for the airport’s offer to revert routes that prove to be too detrimental)

Mrs. Pavey continued, “Gatwick is expecting us to agree to a blank sheet of paper as the CAA has confirmed that the placing of arrivals could remain narrowed on the final approach, and neither will the CAA detail the frequency of the number of flights per route. We could well end up with permanent ‘concentration’, (PBN), on arrivals as this is described as ‘aspirational’ in the Arrivals Review as a long-term target.”  [See Page 81 of  Arrivals Review, Aspire-21. ]

Gatwick Airport staged another Arrival Review public event on 27th April, 2016 offering speakers from the review team, Gatwick, the Civil Aviation Authority, NATS and EasyJet.

Mr. Graham Lake, a member of the review team, hosted and gave an introduction to the timetable of the review.

Also discussed at the meeting was the highly intrusive ‘whine’ made by the engines of A320 aircraft. CAGNE has worked with EasyJet on this problem but learned that while a large proportion of the airline’s fleet at Gatwick has been modified to reduce noise, completion of the work on all the fleet will fall outside of the 2017 deadline set by the Arrivals Review.

CAGNE asked if a fine had been set for those airlines that do not comply, but learned this had yet to be set. EasyJet aircraft make up 47% of all the A320s that operate in and out of Gatwick. This type of aircraft represents 60% of all Gatwick flights.

In the meeting, questions were asked as to why the Arrivals Review had not tackled night flights, as they are a major problem with sleep deprivation; and why Gatwick effectively encouraged night flights by charging little, if anything, for night landings.

Responding, Gatwick’s Mr. Charles Kirwan-Taylor, surprised the meeting by saying, “But we do charge for night landings.’

CAGNE can reveal that in the Gatwick ‘Conditions of Runways use 2016/2017 Final Schedule’, it states that there are no charges for landings from 00.00-04.59 hours. [ Page 25 of Gatwick’s “Gatwick Airport: Conditions of Use 2016/17”  Jan 2016  Link  £0 charge during winter,  1st November to 31st March.  Also for the “Gatwick Airport: Conditions of Use 2015/2016. Again no charge.  Link

CAGNE asked the CAA to confirm that the Arrivals Review recommendation to move the ‘join’ (where arriving aircraft meet the final approach to the runway) to 8 miles out from the runway (from its current 10 miles) would be adopted.

CAGNE also asked if dispersal on these routes would be implemented, or whether flights would remain in concentrated ‘swathes’ (the width of the flight path).

The CAA confirmed that there is nothing in the Arrivals Review to change the narrow placing of arrivals onto the final approach by air traffic control. This will mean that in some areas, those who already suffer ‘concentration’ of departures would then also suffer arrivals.

Sally Pavey, who was present at both meetings said: “We are being asked to trust Gatwick but with the leader of the review confirming at the CAGNE AGM that departures had been ignored in the Arrivals Review.  Is it reasonable to expect us to agree to a blank sheet of paper on which NATS and Gatwick can draw flight path with impunity? And will they actually give us a fair and equitable distribution of aircraft for all on arrivals and departures?”

There were many questions about the formation of the proposed Noise Management Board, as Gatwick presented it as an original idea. However, Heathrow set up a group some time ago with many more community groups represented than Gatwick proposes, thus allowing more community voices to be heard.  [The Heathrow Community Noise Forum. Link ]

“Gatwick seems to have set out to split councils and community groups that suffer the impact of aircraft noise, by only allowing two representatives from each”, Mrs Pavey said. “There are, however, many representatives from aviation and from those that stand to benefit from aviation growth such as Gatwick, the airlines, the CAA, NATS and the Department for Transport”.

She said that the community groups may not be nominated by individual members of the public but must be nominated by councils or other organizations. “It is totally un-representational to have only two community groups on the board, when there are so many community groups from different areas and with different, legitimate, concerns, be they arrivals or departures, in the east or in the west. This is certainly not ’fair and equitable.’”

Mrs Pavey added that many residents had also pinned their hopes for quieter skies on CDA (Continuous Descent Approaches) but NATS disappointed them by explaining that it is up to aircraft pilots to decide at what height they start Continuous Descent Approaches. However, CDA could start from 7,000ft.

NATS confirmed that it only relies upon posters and leaflets to educate pilots and it is not always the same pilots who fly into Gatwick, so they are unable to guarantee CDA approaches.

Established in 2013, CAGNE represents communities east and west of Gatwick and fights for ‘fair and equitable distribution’ of aircraft noise on departures and arrivals.
Press number 07831 632537
Twitter @cagne_gatwick




From  DfT’s January 2014

Guidance to the Civil Aviation Authority on Environmental Objectives Relating to the Exercise of its Air Navigation Functions

Altitude-based priorities

4.1 The usual maximum altitude for a Noise Preferential Route (NPR) is 4,000 feet (amsl) and this reflects the long standing view that noise from aircraft flying above this level is much less likely to affect the key noise metrics used for determining significant community impacts. As aircraft continue to climb from 4,000 feet (amsl) their noise impact reduces. Set against this, there is also a need to ensure that aircraft operations are efficient and that their emissions are minimised. So when considering airspace change requests, the CAA should keep in mind the following altitude-based priorities:

a. in the airspace from the ground to 4,000 feet (amsl) the Government’s environmental priority is to minimise the noise impact of aircraft and the number of people on the ground significantly affected by it;

b. where options for route design below 4,000 feet (amsl) are similar in terms of impact on densely populated areas the value of maintaining legacy arrangements should be taken into consideration;

c. in the airspace from 4,000 feet (amsl) to 7,000 feet (amsl), the focus should continue to be minimising the impact of aviation noise on densely populated areas, but the CAA may also balance this requirement by taking into account the need for an efficient and expeditious flow of traffic that minimises emissions;

d. in the airspace above 7,000 feet (amsl), the CAA should promote the most efficient use of airspace with a view to minimising aircraft emissions and mitigating the impact of noise is no longer a priority;

e. where practicable, and without a significant detrimental impact on efficient aircraft operations or noise impact on populated areas, airspace routes below 7,000 feet (amsl) should, where possible, be avoided over Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks as per Chapter 8.1 of this Guidance; and

f. all changes below 7,000 feet (amsl) should take into account local circumstances in the development of airspace structures.





From Gatwick’s

PRNAV Departure SID. Implementation at LGW.
Consultation Document
Final Version
19 July 2012

P 12

“Should any route, which is part of this proposed P-RNAV implementation, be deemed to be of such detrimental effect that it should be permanently withdrawn, and traffic reverted back to the conventional procedure, this will be communicated to the wider population through GATCOM and other aviation stakeholder groups (FLOPSC etc) and the route withdrawn

“Similarly, should any conventional SID route, be determined as part of this ongoing oversight process to be detrimental in comparison to its P-RNAV version, then the same process of notification and withdrawal may be applied.”