Jeremy Quin, MP for Horsham, is right when he states that the Gatwick Airport arrivals review report could serve a ‘double whammy’ for residents that already suffer 70 per cent of concentrated departures in West Sussex.
The Gatwick report, that investigated only arrivals and refused to consider departures, proposes to move the join to the final approach (ILS) to just eight miles out from the runway placing the merge point at the very same point that residents in the west already suffer the concentration of two departure routes at below 4,000ft. This change will lead to arrivals being lower than 4,000ft whilst turning over communities, aircraft at their noisiest, as they rapidly reduce height and speed.
The report also suggests that residents in the west should also take arrivals from over Kent when the wind permits as well as their own quota of easterly arrivals.
In 2013 the join to the final approach was moved for safety reasons, approved by the Civil Aviation Authority, enabling NATS air traffic control (ATC) to boast of stablising aircraft enabling them to provide Gatwick with greater throughput on a single runway. This was not about avoiding go around, but increasing capacity of runway slots.
NATS are already boasting that they will have 55 air traffic movements an hour this summer schedule at Gatwick with no mention of the impact it will have on communities.
With westerly arrivals the easterly departure routes are not the same track as what is now proposed for the west with easterly arrivals. CAGNE specifically requested of the review team to look at each end of the runway separately but this is obviously not been the case.
CAGNE was responsible for informing groups in Kent of the change to the arrivals swathe and convinced the chairman of Gatwick Airport to include easterly arrivals in the review. CAGNE then set about informing parish councils and residents that were experiencing an increase in noise from arrivals.
The problem with the review is that Gatwick only controls up to 4,000ft after that ATC can decide the height of aircraft and the concentration as government policy, which they have to adhere to, is concentrate aircraft routes and to save CO2 (fuel).
As Gatwick specialises in ‘bucket ‘n’ spade’ European flights these tend to be working on very small profit margins and thus want the shortest routes to land.
CAGNE are therefore concerned that residents will be impacted by a concentration of arrivals over the inner edge of the eight mile approach swathe as well as already suffering concentrated departures. The report suggests use of the full swathe but as this is not government policy, and there is nothing to indicate this on ATC screens, this is unlikely to be the case as historically ATC have directed aircraft the shortest route possible.
Residents should also be aware that what is aspirational for Gatwick in the report are three concentrated routes (superhighways) at eight, 12 and 14 miles from the runway for arrivals.
On behalf of CAGNE, Mayes Lane, Warnham
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