Andy Sinclair, Head of Airspace Strategy and Engagement

The purpose of our blog is to update readers on airspace related activities and issues at Gatwick Airport and around the local area. Frequent visitors to these pages will be familiar with the content previously written by Charles Kirwan-Taylor regarding Route 4 and I want to extend this to also cover other matters that may be of interest.

There is a lot happening this year in terms of aviation public consultations and I thought it might be useful to draw attention to these. 

Department for Transport Night Flying Consultation

 As many readers will be aware Gatwick Airport is a twenty-four hour operation and as such has a regime in place to govern night flying. This current night regime expires in October 2017. The Night Flight Restrictions consultation details the DfT’s proposals for a future five year regime at Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted airports to replace existing system.

The DfT is proposing a cap set at existing levels for the number of night flights from Heathrow and Gatwick, and will end exemptions for almost 1,700 night flights operating out of Stansted. The DfT  will also examine options for how we can better incentivise the use of quieter aircraft by reducing the noise each airport can make during the night. 

 The consultation and the related impact assessment is seeking views and evidence relating to DfT proposals that will inform the eventual decision on the restrictions to be introduced later this year. 

 You can find these documents on the DfT government website and you can submit a response to the consultation using the online response form. This consultation closes on 28 February 2017.

Further public Department for Transport consultations

We expect the following public consultations to be launched over the coming months:

 Draft National Policy Statement

  • Regarding the Government’s decision to support an additional runway at Heathrow
  • 16 week consultation
  • Expected to commence by the end of January/early February 2017 

Airspace Modernisation Consultation

  • Will run alongside the Draft National Policy Statement
  • 16 week consultation
  • Expected to commence by the end of January/early February 2017

Aviation Strategy (this is looking to replace the Aviation Policy Framework)

  • Due out later in 2017
  • Will be published as a number of separate elements (potentially 7)

The final output from the Consultation will not be known until after the National Policy Statement has been designated and then Government will issue the Strategy.

I hope that you will take the opportunity to examine the proposals as they are published and share details of these consultations with others who may be interested.

Route 4

As mentioned previously, frequent visitors to these pages will be familiar with the amendment introduced in May 2016 to the westerly departure ‘Route 4’. The monitoring period of the amendment ceased on 26 November 2016 and the Civil Aviation Authority continues to assess the operational data and the community feedback submitted by the airport. We expect the Civil Aviation Authority to make its final decision regarding Route 4 approximately four months after the cessation of the monitoring period, i.e. by March 2017. I will update this blog on any route 4 developments.

Amendment to Standard Instrument Departure Route 5

Gatwick Airport Ltd is required to amend the 08 CLACTON / DOVER Standard Instrument Departure routes that are used when the runway is operating in an easterly direction.  

This requirement arises from the ‘Report of the CAA’s Post Implementation Review of the Implementation of RNAV-1 Standard Instrument Departures at Gatwick Airport.’ (CAA Report CAP1346). 

The Noise Preferential Route associated with these departure routes is referred to as ‘Route 5’.

The map below illustrates the location of Route 5.


The amendment to Route 5 is intended to ensure departing aircraft follow the nominal centreline of the Noise Preferential Route (the blue shaded area on the map). Aircraft flying the current route design follow an easterly track in the southern portion of the Noise Preferential Route. 

We have prepared a briefing document with more information about this amendment, which will come into effect on 30 March 2017.