Arrival routes into London Luton Airport set to change

19 October 2020

– Public consultation on arrival routes into London Luton Airport open
– Local feedback and input essential
– Virtual town hall available providing information and live Q&A sessions

A public consultation to help determine new arrival routes for flights into London Luton Airport (LLA) opens today, 19 October 2020, offering residents and communities in the surrounding areas the chance to have their say and shape the outcome.

LLA currently shares arrival routes and holds with Stansted, a unique and unsustainable situation for airports of this size in the UK. Any delay at one airport, either in the air or on the ground, impacts the other and can cause additional delay, noise and carbon emissions. The proposed changes will separate routes further out and higher up and create a new hold for Luton arrivals, to ensure that operations for Luton and Stansted don’t impact each other.

The joint consultation, co-sponsored by LLA and air traffic control provider NATS, is looking at two options to simplify the arrival routes for flights into the country’s fifth busiest Airport and segregate them from Stansted’s, ensuring safety.

The first option uses the latest air navigation technology (Performance Based Navigation – PBN) at higher altitudes (approximately 8,000ft and above) to separate LLA’s arrivals from Stansted’s, with air traffic controllers tactically descending and directing aircraft from approximately 8,000ft to land. The second, preferred option, is the same, but extends the availability of PBN to final approach, which allows a predictable, more equitable distribution of flights for communities beneath.

The proposals being put forward by LLA and NATS affect areas not only in the immediate vicinity of the Airport but also wider areas across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and Suffolk. An online postcode tool allows anyone living or working in these areas to see what the changes may mean for them.

AD6 map of affected areas

To comply with COVID-19 health and safety restrictions, representatives from LLA and NATS will host a number of webinars and virtual meetings throughout the consultation period to present the details of the proposal to local communities, airspace users, businesses and MPs. These will replace traditional “town hall” meetings and drop-in events and provide a platform for participants to put questions to subject matter experts. A virtual exhibition will offer everyone access to all the information they need to make an informed decision and provide feedback that will help determine the final proposal.

Lee Boulton, Head of Swanwick Development, NATS, said: “The number of flights into London Luton Airport has increased significantly in recent years and our controllers have had to delay aircraft and manually manage each flight to ensure safety. This proposal is all about ensuring safety and the consultation is a great opportunity for people to give us their feedback and help shape the proposed options, so that the airspace around the Airport operates more effectively into the future.”

Neil Thompson, Operations Director at London Luton Airport, said: “Any airspace change can have impacts for a wide variety of people. Local communities may be affected by noise, airlines will see a change to the routes that they fly and local airspace users may see changes too. That’s why over the last 18 months we’ve been working hard with NATS, local community representatives, airlines and others to help develop the final proposals in this consultation. It’s now really important that we hear from the wider community during the 15-week consultation.”

To find out more and submit a response, visit Dates, times and registration details for online meetings can also be found here.

This consultation runs from 19 October 2020 until 5 February 2021.

If a printed copy of the consultation document is required, please write to:
Airspace Change
Flight Operations
London Luton Airport
Percival House, Percival Way

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