LETTER: Aviation safety is paramount

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Martin Spurrier’s recent plea for truthful information (WSCT, October 2, 2014) given in the fulsome knowledge of business shareholder dividend profits motivation will be well received. I have no doubt.

However, there are other viewpoints and civil aviation industrial considerations which have to be made and of which the public have to be well informed apropos London Gatwick’s future.

It should be understood that when the economy catches cold airlines can catch pneumonia and many we can remember at Gatwick have disappeared.

EasyJet, pioneer of .com online seat booking and Capital Airlines (LBA) brought welcome financial relief some two decades or more ago cutting out the middlemen who reduced and delayed their well earned revenue.

Profit is not a dirty word, it is essential for service industries and necessary investment, indeed also for the sometimes unexpected costs such as sky rocketing fuel costs, security and the like.

Gatwick’s most recently completed departure trial paths have quite properly attracted severe public and local criticism (Sally Pavey, WSCT, October 2, 2014) as this airport management has handled these trials and its questionnaire in a crass and insensitive manner.

CAGNE has struck home and let us hope that something good will now come from this debacle.

The London Terminal Area, inclusive of Heathrow (LHR), Stansted and Luton, Gatwick, and some smaller airfields such as Biggin Hill, Farnborough, Northolt for smaller aircraft movements, is now the busiest in the world at or about some 97 per cent operational capacity, and though very well managed by ATC, aircraft movement separations have, on occasion been reduced from one minute to some 45 seconds.

Safety is paramount. The public would have it no less.

Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs) routinely incorporate noise abatement procedures and it should be clear in this 21st century that blighting our lives in airports surrounding residential areas is not an option.

A spirit of ‘Harombee’ is required, this delightful and charming Swahili word meaning ‘Let’s pull together’. Let us hope that this spirit takes root and that the future development of London Gatwick is peaceably and fruitfully assured accordingly.

Incidentally, an August issue of London’s Metro newspaper detailed a Gatwick Parliamentary Liaison Group consisting of four MPs from adjoining Surrey and Sussex constituencies.

Notably, our Horsham MP Francis Maude was not among them. We can only wonder.

I am sure that Roger Arthur, our UKIP Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Horsham, would be happy to represent us when the opportunity presents itself.

GRAHAM HARPER

Stane Street, Adversane