Update by Charles Kirwan-Taylor, Corporate Affairs & Sustainability Director

04 August 2016

Charles Kirwan-TaylorWe are currently in the process of compiling our second instalment of Route 4 data to be sent to the Civil Aviation Authority and the highlight is airline compliance with the Route 4 Noise Preferential Route; this increased in July to 95.27% of aircraft using Route 4 being on track, compared to 92.31% during the previous monitoring period (10 June to 3 July when Route 4 was in operation).

We continue to engage with our airline partners, Air Traffic Control and our Airspace designers to further improve performance during the 6 month monitoring period (26 May to 26 November 2016).

As I have detailed previously, the amendment to Route 4 is required by the Civil Aviation Authority and is aimed at providing a better replication of the conventional Standard Instrument Departure routes; maps in previous blog entries illustrate this. 

The airport is receiving a considerable amount of correspondence from a number of communities located beneath or adjacent to Route 4 who previously experienced reduced levels of overflight when the airport switched from conventional navigation to R-NAV1, and traffic moved outside of Route 4, resulting in the situation which the CAA asked us to address. These communities are now are experiencing increased levels of overflight due to this amendment and the re-introduction of air traffic to Route 4, albeit with greater dispersal across the 3km wide swathe.

We are also receiving feedback asking for other Noise Preferential Routes to be used in addition to Route 4. By way of clarification,  not all departures are utilising Route 4 - 26BOGNA, 26SFD and 26SAM Noise Preferential Routes are also being flown regularly.  The choice of departure route from the airport is influenced by two factors. Firstly, aircraft take-off and land into wind for aerodynamic reasons.  This will result in either easterly or westerly operations with westerly being predominant.  Each mode of operations has a number of departure routes associated with it. In  general, Route 4 experiences 38% of traffic leaving the airport when operating in a westerly direction. A further Noise Preferential Route to the south of the airport (called 26Wizad) is, however, used much less frequently. This route is a tactical offload route and is not usually offered as part of a flight path – it is generally offered only to local pilots in modern, high performance aircraft during extremely poor weather.

I should also confirm that the location of the Noise Preferential Route itself has not changed, neither Gatwick Airport nor the Civil Aviation Authority has the authority to amend these; that power rests with the Secretary of State for Transport.

To date we have received 3,000 pieces of feedback from individuals; this continues to be collated and forwarded to the CAA every month. Please send your feedback to route4@gatwickairport.com. This email is for data collection only and is a no-reply email address.