Gatwick Obviously

e-newsletter No.30

We expect the Airports Commission to announce their decision on Gatwick or Heathrow very soon ...

It is only a recommendation to the Government, who will then take time to announce their own decision.

But we know from our inbox that right now you are getting hammered by the aerial superhighways (your words), already scorching through our summer skies - imposed by stealth and without consultation.

So I want to assure you of this; whatever the decision of Sir Howard Davies (and in due course the Government) there will be no feeling of triumph or disaster.

Simply an absolute, resolute and core focus on restoring the flight paths by reverting to the broad swathe, achieving some tranquillity to your skies as soon as we possibly can.

Any extra runway is at least 10 years away.

It is the right now we need to fix and I will not rest, nor will my Strategic Team, until that is done (it could take some time).

Martin Barraud

Let's talk stats

Bear with me. But this is core to achieving a reversion to the broad swathe.

The narrowing of the swathe in which the aircraft join the final approach by 60% for arrivals into Gatwick from the East has caused all the misery (combined with low altitudes and the whine of the easyJets) for those on the East.

Blue: Summer 2008
Red: Summer 2014 (indicative)

The graph above could not be more clear.

The swathe was narrowed in late 2013

In 2008 there were 131,858 total arrivals and 4,768 complaints
In 2014 there were 129,966 total arrivals and 25,440 complaints

1.4% fewer flights and an increase in complaints by 533%

The CAA have said they narrowed the swathe to reduce Go-arounds (aborted landings) caused by 'unstable approaches'.
In 2008 there were 350 Go-arounds in total from 131,858 arrivals
In 2014 there were 512 Go-arounds in total from 129,966 arrivals

In terms of unstable approaches let's look for example at 2011 v 2014 (the last full year we can judge)
2011: 100 unstable approaches from 125,541 flights, or 0.07965%
2014: 103* unstable approaches from 129,966 flights, or 0.07925%
(source: Gatwick Airport/Flight Performance Team)
*In 2014 the reports moved to column charts with no exact figures. We have analysed the charts very closely to give us these figures, and erred on a lower figure where there is any doubt

A difference of four ten-thousandths of a percent. (We think that's what it is)

Versus a rise in complaints of 533%.

Remember Government policy is to 'limit and, where possible to reduce the number of people in the UK significantly affected by aircraft noise'

The complaints from those affected have gone up 5-fold. The reduction in Go-Arounds in 2014 due to unstable approaches was infinitesimal.

Many, many more people have been significantly affected by aircraft noise.
That is indisputable.
Put very simply, the regulator has failed to ensure Government policy is applied.

The solution is really simple; broaden the swathe to the original width (as per 2008) and only allow the number of aircraft that can be sequenced without an increase in risk.

You draw your own conclusions but we actually think 'throughput' might have rather more to do with it.

Why? We'll tell you next time. We also have some very interesting information from a pilot we'd like to pass on in due course.

Support from a Minister

On June 1st we delivered our joint message from 15 Campaign Groups around Gatwick, Heathrow and City Airports to the DfT and Downing Street.

We reproduce here, with thanks and permission, a letter we received from the Minister for Childcare and Education, Sam Gyimah, MP.

We look forward to sitting down with the DfT very soon.


June 19th 2015

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