Gatwick NATS consultation closes tomorrow

Residents have until tomorrow to submit their views on Gatwick Airport’s proposed flight path changes.

A joint consultation between NATS and Gatwick Airport into airspace changes is due to end tomorrow, 21 January, and local people – those living in Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Essex, Suffolk and Hampshire – who may be affected by the proposed changes have been urged to provide feedback on the proposals.

The south of England’s airspace is one of the busiest in the world and the Gatwick NATS consultation is the first stage of a wider programme of proposed changes which will deliver the UK’s Future Airspace Strategy (FAS) due to come into effect in 2020.

Anyone wishing to comment has until tomorrow to do so and should visit www.londonairspaceconsultation.co.uk for more information.

Flybe issues statement on NATS disruption

Following the major failure of communications systems at NATS headquarters over the weekend that caused misery for hundreds of thousands of airline passengers, Flybe has hit out against the fact that it is the airlines that have to act as ‘the Insurers of last resort’ yet again.

Commenting on the situation, Chief Commercial Officer Paul Simmons comments: “Flybe had 170 flights scheduled for Saturday 7th December. Due to the NATS fiasco just 27% of our services got away within 15 minutes of their scheduled time, something that is totally unacceptable and meant thousands of our passengers had their travel badly disrupted.

“It’s clearly not a fair system when NATS can wash their hands of any financial compensation to the millions of passengers who were let down. But the airlines once again have to act as ‘the Insurers of last resort’ and pick up the tab. That’s really not acceptable.”

In praising the work of Flybe staff who worked tirelessly to keep delays and disruptions to a minimum, he added: “The fact that only four of Flybe’s 170 flights on Saturday were cancelled when compared to other airlines’ performances, is down to the fantastic efforts of our staff on the ground and at our Exeter HQ. I pay tribute to their outstanding work on behalf of our passengers. The very fact that 96% of our flights departed on time the following day is also testament to their ability.”

Views required on Airspace around Gatwick Airport and London

Local Residents to Gatwick Airport are being asked for their comments on changes to how planes are managed in the skies above the South East. There is an idea by The National Air Traffic Control Service (NATS) to create an airspace network similar to a motorway, with planes flying on specific routes. This could mean less noise for most people in the area.

Juliet Kennedy, operations director at NATS’ Swanwick headquarters in Hampshire, said, “The whole of the South East of England, pretty much, is already over flown by aircraft. What we’re trying to do is to work out the best possible route structure which suits everybody, works best for the people who are living underneath the areas where the aircraft fly but also for the airlines who are flying them and enables us to meet the demands that are placed on us by all the people who want to fly.”

Advantages include less stacking by planes, resulting in a cut in CO2 emissions. Planes would also climb higher on take-off and fly at a greater altitude and place more routes over the sea.

There is New European legislation that requires the UK to maximise the navigation technology it has to make better use of the airspace above the South East. Gatwick Airport was looking at a proposal called rotating respite, which would see flight-path routes switched on and off.

Tom Denton, head of corporate responsibility at the airport, added: “This project gives us an opportunity to further reduce the number of people affected by noise, as well as focus on further reducing CO2 emissions and air quality impacts. Therefore this is an important time for local people and those who live within our flight paths, who now have a once in a lifetime opportunity to give their feedback and influence the future of our airspace.”

The consultations for the local residents are running from now until 21st January 2014.

News courtesy of Paul Thomas at Easirent Car Hire Gatwick Airport