Just two weeks left to respond to consultation on arrival routes into London Luton Airport

18 January 2021

– Public consultation on proposed changes to arrival routes into the Airport closes on 5 February
– Feedback needs to be submitted in the next two weeks to be considered
– Virtual exhibition available, providing information and recordings of Q&A sessions

There are now only two weeks left for people to have their say on proposed changes to arrival routes for flights into London Luton Airport (LLA). The public consultation ends on 5 February, so there is still time for residents and communities in the surrounding areas to submit a response and help shape the outcome.

The joint consultation, co-sponsored by London Luton Airport and air traffic control provider NATS, is consulting on two options to simplify the arrival routes for flights into the UK’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 Luton 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.

In response to the restrictions in place because of Covid-19, the consultation has largely been digital to still allow for engagement with the majority of stakeholders. A virtual exhibition offers access to all the information needed to make an informed decision and provide feedback that will help determine the final proposal. To inform those members of the public who are not online, advertisements have been placed in local newspapers and magazines and leaflets detailing how to access paper consultation material and how to provide a postal response were offered to over fifty local representative groups and libraries.

The consultation is running for more than 15 weeks in order to give people enough time to investigate the proposals and respond. While over a thousand responses have already been received, London Luton Airport and NATS are urging everyone to check if they will be affected by the proposals and respond in time to meet the deadline. The easiest way to check if you may be affected is by using the postcode tool available in the virtual exhibition.

All online responses must be received before midnight on Friday, 5 February, before the Civil Aviation Authority’s website automatically closes. Postal responses should be sent with enough time to ensure delivery by the consultation closure date.

London Luton Airport currently shares arrival routes and holds with Stansted and so any delay at one airport impacts the other and can cause additional delay, noise and carbon emissions. The proposed changes separate routes further out and higher up and creates a new hold for Luton arrivals for use during busy periods of the day, with aircraft no lower than approximately 8,000ft, one of the highest hold bases in London airspace.

Some communities currently overflown by Luton arrivals and using the existing holds would experience less arrivals traffic under these proposals; others currently overflown may experience less noise impact because some traffic would be higher than today. Some people may be newly overflown. Feedback from as many people as possible is needed, those who would be positively impacted by the changes as well as those who may be negatively impacted.

There are some areas where there would be a flightpath change, from which there have been very few responses. People in Newmarket and northern Cambridge, who would gain flights overhead but at higher altitudes, have not yet responded, nor have those from Haverhill, Saffron Walden, Great and Little Chesterford, Great and Little Shelford, Duxford, Sawston, Melbourn and Royston, who would actually see fewer Luton arrivals at lower altitudes.

Lee Boulton, Head of Swanwick Development, NATS, said: “The pandemic has of course drastically reduced the number of flights using not only Luton Airport, but all airports in the UK these past months. However, work on this proposal started in 2017 and is driven by the underlying safety requirement to reduce the region’s airspace complexity and will still be necessary even if air traffic recovers from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic more slowly than predicted.”

Neil Thompson, Operations Director at London Luton Airport, said: “Thanks to our virtual exhibition, it has never been easier to participate in such an important consultation. While we’ve been pleased by the overall response so far, we’re keen to hear from as many communities as possible. With just two weeks to go, we urge everyone living or working in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Suffolk to use the illustrative online postcode tool and see what the proposals may mean for you and provide your feedback before 5 February.”

To find out more and submit a response, visit https://www.nats.aero/vr/ad6/

This consultation closes on 5 February 2021. Responses should be made using the form on the CAA Website: https://consultations.airspacechange.co.uk/london-luton-airport/ad6_luton_arrivals/intro

If a printed copy of the consultation document is required, please write to:
Airspace Change
Flight Operations
London Luton Airport
Percival House, Percival Way
Luton
LU2 9NU

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