CAA review: changes to flight paths required

Last week the Civil Aviation Authority published its review of the changes to flight paths introduced at Gatwick Airport since 2013. The report includes an assessment of the nine routes used by departing aircraft, and the impact that P-RNAV technology has had in concentrating noise for residents overflown.

From my understanding of the report, this is an important step forward in recognising that:

1. Actual flight paths have differed from what residents were led to expect in 2013. I welcome the CAA’s admission that on certain paths, such as Route 2 west of East Grinstead and Route 5 above the Lingfield and Dormansland area, “aircraft are not flying exactly where we anticipated when we made the decision in 2013.”

2. The impact on residents has been greater than forecast. The report notes that on both Route 2 and Route 5 “the noise experienced by local communities was not as anticipated when the decision was made in 2013.”

3. The report requires Gatwick to modify these routes to deliver a better outcome. Whilst it is disappointing that the review sees the current routes as an acceptable fallback, it is encouraging that it does require Gatwick to modify the routes to deliver a better outcome. This includes moving the concentration of flights further from Dormansland.Once the modified design has been implemented and operated for six months the CAA will conduct a further assessment as part of the on-going post implementation review.

I will be encouraging Gatwick to make the most of this opportunity to modify these routes, and reduce the impact for residents suffering under the current flight paths.