In line with CAA requirements and as part of the Government’s Future Airspace Strategy, aircraft departing from Gatwick now fly using a method known as ‘Precision Area Navigation’ (P-RNAV). This technology means departing aircraft follow more precise flight paths and has been introduced so that the CAA can eventually switch off ground-based navigation systems across the UK.  

The new P-RNAV routes sit within the airport’s nine Noise Preferential Routes (NPRs) or ‘corridors’ that departing aircraft fly within. Aircraft started flying these modified flight paths in November 2013 and use of P-RNAV on departures became mandatory in May 2014. These routes have just been reviewed (a post implementation review) by the CAA to ensure they are compliant with regulations.

Eight of the nine NPR’s were considered to be compliant. The departure routes within Route 4 (also known as 26LAM) - an NPR departing from the west before wrapping around 180 degrees to the right to fly out to the east - was not fully compliant as some aircraft were flying outside the northern perimeter of the NPR. We are now making modifications to this route to ensure that aircraft move back inside the NPR. 

There were two further modifications recommended to Gatwick routes which were not due to issues with compliance but were to increase the accuracy of aircraft tracks. These flight paths sit within Route 2 (08 SFD) – an easterly route which turns south past East Grinstead – and within Route 5 (08CLN) – an easterly route which heads straight out. Modifications to these routes will be made after the issues with Route 4 (26LAM) has been resolved.