Gatwick has said it is making good progress in reducing the noise impact on local residents from planes arriving at the airport.
Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden, hosted a meeting at All Saints Church in order that residents could question the leaders of the independent review. She said:
With the Independent Arrivals Review and the creation of the Noise Management Board, Gatwick has shown it is now listening to the local community’s very strong and justified concerns about aircraft noise.
There is still plenty of work to be done to deliver all the recommendations, with 13 still to be completed, but I am pleased we now have the structures in place to work better together. I will continue to hold Gatwick to account as we move forward.
Modifying A320s: More than half of Gatwick flights use the Airbus A320 series, but they can create a high-pitched whine on approach. A modification eliminates this noise and adapting all A320s using the airport was seen as a priority recommendation.
From January 2018, Gatwick will impose higher noise charges to any A320 aircraft that have not been modified. Several airlines accelerated their modification programmes as a result, with four of the five largest operators – accounting for around 90% of A320 movements at Gatwick – now expecting to modify their entire fleets by the end of 2017.
Continuous Descent Approach (CDA): Employing a continuous descent approach means aircraft use less thrust and generate less noise by descending at a continuous rate, rather than a stepped approach.
In August 2016, the altitude for CDA conformance was raised for all flights arriving at Gatwick from 6000 to 7000 feet to reduce the noise impact on local communities even further.
Reduction in minimum final approach joining distance: A change in Gatwick’s minimum joining point on final approach in 2013 led to increased concentration of aircraft. This recommendation aimed to increase the arrivals dispersal to more closely emulate circumstances prior to 2013.
In August 2016, a new minimum joining point was introduced which led to an average 25% reduction in the number of aircraft joining at the previously concentrated 11 nautical mile joining point, compared to the previous year. More work however is required to identify feasible steps toward ‘fair and equitable dispersal’ of aircraft in the near-term, ahead of new technology making dispersal more predictable and consistent post 2022.
Gatwick Airport Deputy Chairman, Sir Roy McNulty said:
We committed to take forward implementation of all the recommendations from the Arrivals Review and, one year on, a substantial amount of work has been undertaken and some real progress made by Gatwick, industry stakeholders and our local communities through the Noise Management Board. There is still some way to go and we will continue to work on existing recommendations and address fresh areas of concern.
“his has been an extremely constructive process and, while challenging at times, it is only through listening and engaging in detailed discussions with both our local communities and industry experts, that we will deliver truly effective measures. The establishment of the Noise Management Board has been particularly productive in this respect and I expect that it will play a key role coordinating noise issues for many years to come.
I am encouraged that the efforts of the past year have yielded tangible benefits and I am sure that with the continued support of all stakeholders, future work will lead to continued improvement in the airport’s noise performance.