Government announces it will be redesigning airspace to cram in yet more flights in already crowded skies
The DfT says UK airspace sectors will be redesigned “to accommodate more capacity and allow more direct flights, rather than following long-established lanes.” This is dressed up as being “greener” flying by rationalising the use of airspace. It is just to fit more flights into already very crowded airspace, to allow for more aviation expansion. The hope is that delays will be slightly reduced, and there would be a bit less stacking – so saving a small amount of jet fuel (and cutting the cost to airlines, for which profit margins are already tight, due to the competition to get bums onto plane seats). But the changes will mean more noise for many residents who already get some noise, and also plane noise for many who currently are barely overflown. Over the next few years, a new Airspace Change Organising Group, operating independently within the air-traffic service NATS, will oversee the changes. There will be few places within tens of miles of Gatwick and Heathrow that are not affected by noise.There is almost nowhere people can choose to live, where there will be guaranteed to be NO plane noise. The industry greenwash is that this will “will make flying cleaner, quieter and quicker, as we make our aviation sector one of the greenest in the world.”
Government announces plans to open up airspace [allegedly] to cut pollution
On the busiest-ever day for UK skies, the government has promised “greener” flying by rationalising the use of airspace.
It claims plans to allow more efficient use of British skies could result in fewer delays and planes burning one-fifth less fuel.
But restructuring the present flight paths and allowing aircraft to fly more direct courses will increase noise for many residents who are little affected by air traffic.
Friday 31 May is set to be the busiest-ever day for UK skies as football fans travel to Madrid. The Champions League final in the Spanish capital between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur is expected to involve 700 extra flight movements, breaking the 9,000-a-day barrier for the first time.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has chosen the day to announce plans to reduce the environmental impact of flying.The aviation minister, Baroness Vere, said: “Like our road and rail infrastructure on the ground, we need to keep our infrastructure in the sky up to date to keep people moving.
“It hasn’t fundamentally changed since the 1950s, and without action, one in three flights could faces delays of half an hour or more by 2030.”
Over the next few years airspace sectors will be redesigned to accommodate more capacity and allow more direct flights, rather than following long-established lanes.
In addition, better coordination of air traffic is aimed at reducing the amount of “stacking” of aircraft waiting to land at busy airports, particularly Heathrow and Gatwick.
The DfT claims the work could see planes burning a fifth less fuel – equivalent to 400,000 fewer flights a year – while delivering greater capacity and reducing delays.
Baroness Vere said: “It is a complex and pressing task, but it will make flying cleaner, quieter and quicker, as we make our aviation sector one of the greenest in the world.”
A new Airspace Change Organising Group, operating independently within the air-traffic service NATS, will oversee the changes.
But they are likely to cause controversy, as the most effective way to increase capacity is to open up areas of airspace that are currently unused, and to allow a wider spread of tracks used by departures and arrivals at the UK’s airports.
The present record of flights flying to, from and within UK airspace is 8,842 in a day. The extra traffic spurred by the football match is expected easily to beat this. The additional movements are a mix of charter flights and business jets hired by wealthy supporters.
Airspace modernisation to make flying greener and more reliable
6th June 2019
- plans to modernise UK airspace could result in fewer delays and planes burning a fifth less fuel
- UK airspace hasn’t fundamentally changed since the 1950s
Aviation Minister Baroness Vere today (31 May 2019) announces plans to reduce the environmental impact of flying, as fans travelling to the all-English European Cup football final in Madrid could see the busiest-ever day for the UK’s airspace with more than 9,000 flights.
Our airspace is equivalent to a motorway network in the sky, but hasn’t been updated for more than 50 years, and it is becoming increasingly busy.
To deal with the growth of the aviation sector, the government is supporting plans to modernise our airspace over the next few years, increasing environmental benefits [that means minimal reductions in the last miles the planes travel to the airport… saving a tiny bit of fuel … AW comment] while reducing journey times. [It really means fitting more planes into already crowded airspace, by putting more down very narrow flight corridors, used by a huge number of planes – rather than planes being more spread out…. AW comment]
This will be done in stages over the next few years and could [note, “could”. ie. probably will not …. AW comment] see planes burning a fifth less fuel – equivalent to 400,000 fewer flights a year – while delivering greater capacity and reducing delays. [ie. expand the aviation industry, with yet more flights …. at a time of climate emergency …. AW comment]
Aviation Minister Baroness Vere said:
“Like our road and rail infrastructure on the ground, we need to keep our infrastructure in the sky up to date to keep people moving. It hasn’t fundamentally changed since the 1950s, and without action, 1 in 3 flights could faces delays of half an hour or more by 2030. It is a complex and pressing task, but it will make flying cleaner, quieter and quicker, as we make our aviation sector one of the greenest in the world.”
The reforms are just one part of a series of measures which will make the UK’s aviation sector among the greenest in the world, with significant investment already announced last year to develop greener aircraft.
Modernising the UK’s airspace will also reduce the need for stacking, where aircraft join a circular queue to land at busy airports, decreasing the aviation industry’s environmental impact by cutting carbon and noise, as the global industry aims to reduce net emissions by 50% by 2050. [Honestly, Baroness Vere surely does not believe that expanding the industry by 4% or more per year is really going to be counterbalanced by cutting a little bit of stacking by some planes? That really is not credible. … AW comment]
The programme will be industry funded [well, it certainly should not be funded by the taxpayer., especially as aviation pays no fuel duty and no VAT… AW comment] and overseen by the newly created Airspace Change Organising Group (ACOG), commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as co-sponsors of airspace modernisation. It will operate as an independent body within NATS, the UK’s leading air traffic navigation provider.
There is no actual report or document on any of this…..