Gatwick Obviously

e-newsletter No.87

Our Mission Statement

Full dispersal • • • Maximum altitude • • • Continuous Descent

End of year round-up

"The winter months may see fewer arrivals, but for those of us living under the flightpath we continue to have our lives blighted by aircraft noise. I'm grateful to you all for doing your bit to keep the pressure on Gatwick, NATS, the Noise Management Board and Department for Transport to do more to keep our communities quiet.

"There is lots of work going on, and the solutions will be nowhere near what we need to see until more attitudes change. Please continue to let me know of your experiences so we can return to the peaceful skies we once knew."

Tom Tugendhat MP

"At a national level the government announced its decisions on airspace policy in October, having held a consultation earlier in the year. This contained mixed news. On the positive side the government changed the definition of who they regard as significantly impacted by aircraft noise, finally recognising that people in communities like ours, some way from an airport, can be affected. And it confirmed its intention to require the industry to consult on permanent changes in the use of airspace, such as the one that impacted us in 2013, although the details still need to be worked out.

There is also to be a new Commission on aircraft noise, but this will not initially have any legal powers. Disappointingly there were no significant changes to the regulatory regime airports are subject to or their compensation obligations. And the government's overall policy on aircraft noise remains as woolly and unsatisfactory as ever. These issues will now be looked at in a further piece of work due to report by the end of 2018. Overall, some small steps forward but still a lot to do."

Charles Lloyd from GON, who sits on the government's Airspace and Noise Engagement Group.

The Airbus Whine

It is expected that EasyJet and BA will have completed their upgrades by the official 'sunset' date of the end of December, 2017. Not all other airlines will have done so and we can give a full update early in January when the data is known.

No one at GON will forget the enormous effort made by so many of you to bring them to heel on this so-easily-fixed issue.

Graham Lake of the Noise Management Board comments:

"… GAL will be monitoring all subject flights and reporting progress to the Noise Management Board. easyJet has also introduced its first Airbus A320 neo to the Gatwick base, delivering further noise improvements.
[NEO – New Engine Option, –2 EPNdB ('Effective perceived noise in decibels') in approach]

GAL will be updating the NMB in early January on the steps GAL is permitted to take with airlines to eliminate any remaining operations by non-modified Airbus aircraft."

As both Tom and Charles suggest, there is so much yet to be done. From changing hearts and minds in Whitehall to changing the way pilots manoeuvre their aircraft for the quietest possible landing, and much else besides.

GON is made up of 15 people who came together in early 2014 to defend our skies from the myriad assaults on our airspace of that time, real or threatened. Coming up for nearly 4 years on, (newsletter 87!) we will continue to do so and I can only thank you and them for all the extraordinary efforts to do so.

I wish you a very peaceful Christmas and New Year.


Martin Barraud
Gatwick Obviously Not

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December 20th 2017

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