Edinburgh airport starts 1st stage of consultation to get more RNAV routes in place by summer 2018
Edinburgh airport met strenuous opposition when it ran a trial that started in June 2015 of the TUTUR route. Now Edinburgh has put out a consultation (ends 12th September) of the first phase of a process of getting more airspace changes. The consultation is not on actual routes. The airport says: “The positions of the new routes have not yet been determined. We seek to inform the decisions regarding where best to position these routes by consulting with those impacted or who have an interest.” The question in the consultation is “what local factors should be taken into account when determining the position of the route within the design envelope given the potential impacts, and why?” They say feedback “will inform the detailed design process and will influence the design options.” Once draft routes have been designed, a further consultation (probably summer 2017) will take place on the detailed design of the routes. After the second consultation, Edinburgh Airport will submit an airspace change proposal to the CAA. They have been careful to get their consultation in quickly, before the CAA system of improving the airspace change process comes into being. “ The target date for the RNAV routes to come into operation is Summer 2018.” Consultees cannot comment on air traffic growth, airport expansion, or government policy on airspace noise (or the lack of it), or of PBN or the desirability of RNAV.
Edinburgh consultation on changes to airspace
Some info at http://www.letsgofurther.com/
The main consultation document is at
This document states:
Initial consultation We, Edinburgh Airport, need to understand the views of stakeholders concerning issues that may arise from altering arrival and departure flight paths so that we can analyse concerns gathered during the initial consultation (June – September 2016) and develop viable options by December 2016 so as to develop a flight path change consultation on options to effectively maximise operational benefits and minimise community impacts.
Further consultation We, Edinburgh Airport, need to understand the views of stakeholders concerning viable options for arrival and departure flight paths so we can alter flight paths to maximise operational benefits and minimise community impacts by Summer 2017 so as to produce an airspace change proposal to the CAA which complies with relevant regulatory requirements and responds to consultee concerns.
“3.1 What is this consultation about?
This consultation concerns aircraft arriving to and departing from Edinburgh Airport. Existing routes (termed ‘conventional’ routes) rely on the 1950s technology of VOR and NDB radio beacons. More modern navigation systems can now provide RNAV which uses a combination of satellite and ground-based navigation technology to permit aircraft to follow a precisely defined path over the ground with far greater accuracy than is possible with conventional routes.
The benefits of RNAV are well documented (Ref. 6 and 7, on page 84), and the replacement of conventional routes with equivalent RNAV routes is in accordance with government and international (ICAO/Eurocontrol) guidelines (Ref. 6). This proposal seeks to replace the existing conventional routes with RNAV routes.
The positions of the new routes have not yet been determined. We seek to inform the decisions regarding where best to position these routes by consulting with those impacted or who have an interest.
We ask for your feedback regarding “what local factors should be taken into account when determining the position of the route within the design envelope given the potential impacts, and why?”
Government guidance provides generic objectives for airspace changes, such as the need to overfly the fewest people below 7,000ft above ground level (AGL) and to be as efficient as possible (i.e. minimising or not increasing CO2 emissions) above 7,000ft.
However, while the governmental guidance provides a starting point, we recognise that there may be specific local factors which could also have an influence on the optimum position of the routes. It is these local factors that this consultation seeks to identify, record and understand.
This consultation concerns changes which affect the profiles of aircraft arriving and departing from Edinburgh Airport below 7,000ft above ground level (AGL). See Appendix B for the legal requirements and how difference altitude cut-offs apply to this consultation.
These changes are fundamental to Edinburgh Airport’s continued development. Feedback from this consultation will inform the detailed design process and will influence the design options. Once draft routes have been designed, a further consultation will take place where we will give you the opportunity to comment on the detailed design options that we have developed taking account of your feedback.
After the second consultation, Edinburgh Airport will submit an airspace change proposal to the CAA in which we must demonstrate that the proposed design achieves the best balance possible for all.
3.2 What is this consultation not about?
This consultation is not related to air traffic growth or the airport’s growth in general. Government policy regarding the change to Performance Based Navigation (PBN) is outside the scope of this consultation.
This consultation is not about: RNAV as a future tool; any other or future development; any aspect of government airport or airspace policy; or the establishment of controlled airspace. Comments in responses not directly related to this initial consultation will be discounted from the analysis.
For those stakeholders who want a deeper knowledge of ATC, we have provided more in-depth background information on the consultation website. Also Ref. 9 (C AP1379, on page 84) is a document produced by the C A A to specifically help stakeholders in airspace consultations, such as this, understand today’s ATC route structure and operational techniques.
The consultation begins at midday on 6 June 2016 and ends at 23:59 on 12 September 2016, a period of 14 weeks.
2.2 Modernising for the future
We seek to upgrade our aircraft departure and arrival routes3 to take advantage of the improved navigational capabilities of RNAV and improve the efficiency and capacity of the airspace around Edinburgh Airport.
This consultation focuses on arrival and departure routes to Edinburgh Airport below 7,000ft above ground level (AGL).
We are keen to modernise our airspace as this will allow us to:
• ensure our airport can meet existing and future demand by increasing the capacity of its runway
• make improvements to routes to allow flights to depart more frequently with fewer delays
• make efficiency improvements to the arrival routes based on a newly-positioned hold pattern
• position aircraft more accurately allowing arrival and departure routes to be flown more accurately
• help minimise the impact to fewer people on the ground
• meet legal obligations to keep pace with changes across Europe.
Our aim is to meet these requirements, maximising benefits to Edinburgh and Scotland whilst minimising any negative impacts. Where we are seeking to change a flight path, we will be seeking to minimise the population impacted under the route.
When following RNAV routes, aircraft will follow the routes more consistently than they do today. This is due to the improved track-keeping ability of RNAV. Improved track keeping means that there will be less dispersion of aircraft either side of each of the routes; this would mean a reduction in the overall area regularly overflown, but an increase in the concentration of over-flights in some areas.
While RNAV routes are flown more accurately, they also open up the possibility of designing route configurations to specifically address local environmental issues, such as the provision of respite routes to share noise impacts more equitably (see Ref. 8, on page 84, for more detail about providing feedback on local environmental issues to be considered). This consultation seeks local information that will help us determine how to balance all benefits and impacts to provide the best solution for the region as a whole.
Many airlines are already equipped with RNAV technology and prefer to use it where they can (because it is more accurate). As a result many aircraft currently flying from Edinburgh already use RNAV versions of conventional arrival and departure routes, so called ‘RNAV overlays’.
This proposal seeks to formalise the use of RNAV by superseding these overlays with officially certified RNAV routes, and in some cases introducing new RNAV routes. The new RNAV routes would represent a change to the published routes.
For this reason Edinburgh Airport has a duty, as prescribed by the Civil Aviation Authority, Safety and Airspace Regulation Group4 (C A A, SARG), to consult on any proposals for new routes.
2.3 The initial consultation
In this initial consultation we are showing the design envelope (areas within which each flight path may be positioned). However, we do not yet know where within the design envelope the RNAV routes will specifically be placed. Following this consultation and taking into account your views, we will develop flight path options, which will then be the subject of further consultation. This means we are not consulting on specific flight paths at this stage.
Our objective of doing a two-phase consultation is to capture the feedback from stakeholders and consider the impacts before developing viable route options.
Ultimately the objective of these proposals is to have less noise impact across the region as a whole. Where possible, routes will be positioned to minimise the number of people overflown. In some areas flight paths will change – and this may mean some areas will be overflown more than today, others less, and some will not notice any significant change.
If these changes might affect you, we would like to hear your views. You can use our postcode search facility on our website, letsgofurther.com, which makes it easy to see how the proposed changes may affect you.
The principal question we’re asking is:
“What local factors should be taken into account when determining the position of the route within the design envelope given the potential impacts, and why?”
The focus of this consultation is to ask for your feedback on the design envelopes to inform the design for all Edinburgh Airport departure and arrival routes up to 7,000ft.
What happens next?
A feedback report will be published on the Edinburgh Airport website (letsgofurther.com) once both consultation responses have been analysed. This will include details of the main issues that have been raised by stakeholders during both consultation periods.
Feedback from this initial consultation will inform the detailed design process and will influence the design options for the arrivals and departure routes.
Once detailed route options have been developed, a further consultation exercise will take place where we will seek views on the viable route options. After the further consultation, Edinburgh Airport will develop an airspace change proposal for submission to the CAA in which we must demonstrate that the proposed design achieves the best balance possible.
It is a requirement of the airspace change process that Edinburgh Airport provide the CAA with full details of the consultation (including copies of responses and correspondence) together with all documentation necessary for the promulgation of the proposed RNAV routes.
The CAA will then review the proposal (which can take up to 17 weeks) and reach a Regulatory Decision. If the proposal is approved, the implementation process could take a further twelve weeks. The target date for the RNAV routes to come into operation is Summer 2018.”
and more info from Edinburgh airport on how to respond etc at http://www.letsgofurther.com/
The CAA is currently carrying out consultation and modification of its processes (called CAP 725) by which airspace is changed. The CAA has been strongly criticised, not only by members of the public and local groups and organisations, but also by consultants, Helios, for the very low quality of their process of CAP 725.
However, Edinburgh says:
“At the time of writing a new version of C AP725 is being consulted on by the Civil Aviation Authority; however any resultant change to the guidance is not expected to be published until 2017; therefore in our consultation we refer to the extant guidance dated March 2016.”
So they hope to get this change in before the process has to be improved.