Update on Gatwick flight paths

14 December 2016

Plane Wrong - Route 4 under review


Plane Wrong calls for better track keeping on Route 4

The CAA has now begun its review of the revised Route 4 that was implemented on 26 May this year. Plane Wrong is calling for the track keeping to be improved and for the speed limit round the turn to be enforced. We have made a particular point about the need for the Route to operate correctly when there is a strong wind from the south west, conditions that are most likely to cause planes to fly outside the Noise Preferential Route (NPR) track keeping area. You can see our full submission here.

With the help of our consultants, To70, we have carried out extensive analysis of the comprehensive radar data covering 3 months of operation of the revised Route. This revealed that 6% of flights were outside the NPR during the period studied and that a further 11% were outside the geographical limit of the NPR track keeping area but were not counted by Gatwick because they were above 4,000ft. This is because when planes reach 4,000ft. the NPR no longer applies. We have pointed out to both Gatwick and the CAA that this limit is entirely artificial as far as residents are concerned and therefore what they are experiencing is 1 in 6 planes outside the NPR, an unacceptable performance.

Our analysis also revealed that some planes are exceeding the speed limit around the turn. We believe this causes them to stay lower for longer, causing more nuisance after the bend. We have made this point in meetings with both Gatwick and the CAA and we have indicated to the CAA that we expect them to ensure that Gatwick enforces the rules.

The CAA's review is expected to be completed by the Spring of next year.Government expected to soften stance on concentrationThe Aviation Minister, Lord Ahmad, met representatives from the Aviation Communities Forum (ACF) (of which Plane Wrong is a member) recently and told them that the consultation on airspace policy expected in the Spring of next year will include reducing the emphasis on concentration of flight paths. This is crucial for further campaigning on both Routes 3 and 4 as without a change in Government policy Gatwick appears unwilling to consider the sort of changes we believe are needed.

Gatwick's new complaints system
Many supporters have told us that they don't like Gatwick's new complaints system and there was a good deal of discussion at our AGM on the subject. We have taken up specific concerns at the Noise Management Board (on which I have a shared place with CAGNE) and we are waiting for a response from Gatwick to the Board. They have so far said that they will accept letters where people can't or don't wish to use the online system but they will not provide a telephone number or an email address.I hope you have a Happy (and not too noisy!) Christmas and that we will see further improvements in the New Year.

Best wishes,

Mike Ward


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