Changes planned to London City Airport departure tracks

09 January 2009

Plans for changes to published departure tracks from London City Airport have today been submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) by NATS, the UK’s leading air traffic management company.

NATS submitted a formal Airspace Change Proposal (ACP) to the CAA’s Directorate of Airspace Policy (DAP) for changes to the airport’s Standard Instrument Departure routes (SIDs).

The changes are being fast-tracked at the request of the CAA to better position the SIDs to accommodate jet aircraft that use the airport today, rather than the slower propeller aircraft for which the existing procedures were first designed in the 1980s.

The primary change makes the first turn after take-off wider than it is today; the SIDs then rejoin the existing tracks.   People living in the area beneath the revised SIDs – which is roughly the areas within the M25 – will not see any significant change from today in terms of where aircraft fly.  Aircraft already fly this wider turn, and the new SID simply formalises this procedure.

The proposals were included in the Terminal Control North (TCN) airspace consultation last year and are a necessary transitional measure until the TCN work is complete.

Ian Hall, Director of Operations for NATS, said: “These changes to the turn were proposed in the TCN Consultation and are necessary to formalise the departure procedures for all aircraft using London City which will be an added safety benefit.  It is a change we can achieve quickly and the CAA is keen that we do so.”

The SIDs are part of the airport control zone and Richard Gooding, Chief Executive of London City Airport, said: “We recognise the need for the SIDs to be changed to better reflect the aircraft using the airport today and support NATS in bringing this forward now.”

The proposed new SIDs are designed using standard navigation technology.  Further changes to the SIDS may be required for them to become compliant with new Precision Area Navigation (P-RNAV) technology when the TCN Airspace Change Proposal is brought forward in due course.

If approved by the CAA these changes will be introduced in summer 2009.


Notes to Editors:

The rest of the TCN proposals are still being reviewed in the light of feedback from the consultation.  This ongoing review includes options for:

  • Removal of the London City departure route to the north
  • Changes to route alignments over Essex, east of the M25
  • Designing London City departure routes based on modern navigation techniques which concentrate traffic over a smaller area.

None of these options is being proposed at this time.

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