Airspace change final design modified following consultation feedback

25 June 2021

Proposed new arrival routes into London Luton Airport (LLA) have been modified in direct response to feedback from residents and other stakeholders received in the public consultation held from October 2020 to February 2021.

The co-sponsors of the proposal, LLA and air traffic control provider NATS, carefully reviewed and categorised feedback from more than 2,400 respondents – focusing on the common themes that arose throughout the consultation. As a result, in the final design published today:

  • It has been decided to progress Option One, which means minimal changes from today’s flight paths below 5,000ft, and greater dispersion of flights above 5,000ft
  • The location and orientation of the new holding area near the A1-A14 junction has been adjusted and the lowest standard altitude of the hold raised by 1,000ft, reducing potential noise impacts on the residents of St Neots and Huntingdon.

The updated design is fully explained in the Step 4A(i) document, and an accompanying technical map is available to directly compare the consulted design with the final design (‘before’ and ‘after’ layers can be switched on and off).  There is also a Final Options Appraisal document, which describes the cost benefit analysis in terms of quantified and monetised impacts and benefits.

The joint consultation, co-sponsored by London Luton Airport and air traffic control provider NATS, consulted on two options to simplify and modernise the arrival routes for flights into the UK’s fifth busiest airport and segregate them from Stansted’s, ensuring safety.

Lee Boulton, Head of Airspace Development & Future Operations for NATS, said: “We listened carefully from the start of the consultation to the feedback we were getting, and provided more information as we went along, particularly on the hold and why we need it.  I sincerely hope that people will see our genuine effort to respond to their concerns and I believe the adjustments we are making will make a real and positive difference.

“It was clear from the outset that people’s two main concerns were around the need for, and position of, the new hold; and their preference for dispersion of flights under Option One, rather than our preference for Option Two, which offered the very accurate use of two alternating routes.  In responding to those, other more indirect concerns have also been addressed, as we set out last week in the Feedback Report.”

This completes the three-stage, ‘we asked, you said, we did’ consultation process, and the final design will now be submitted for approval to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in line with the airspace change process. Subject to CAA regulatory approval, the proposal is planned for implementation no earlier than February 2022.

To follow the progress of this Airspace Change Proposal, please check the CAA portal.

* Please note, while the consultation has been known as London Luton Airport Arrivals, on the CAA website the proposal is referred to by its technical name, ‘Swanwick Airspace Improvement Programme – Airspace Deployment 6’.

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