NATS launches consultation on proposed changes to Stansted Airport departure routes

Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport - Credit: Archant

Air traffic services provider NATS has today (Monday, June 16) launched a 12-week consultation on a proposal to change the use of the existing routes for departures to the east and south of Stansted Airport.

No new routes are being proposed, only different usage of the existing routes.

The provider says the proposed changes are “key to achieving network efficiency and reducing delays” in the south, and will play an integral part of the London Airspace Management Programme, NATS’ wider programme to modernise the air route system over London and the south-east. This will be essential for the delivery of the Future Airspace Strategy (FAS), the Civil Aviation Authority’s blueprint for modernising airspace by 2020.

The proposal aims to direct the majority of daytime flights from Stansted that currently fly on a route heading south from the airport, onto the existing route heading to the east. This will avoid Heathrow traffic congestion, which currently keeps aircraft low, often below 7,000ft until the Thames Estuary and sometimes well into Kent.

Switching daytime traffic from the south to the east departure route will allow the flights to climb continuously, reducing CO2 emissions and overall noise. It will eliminate regular daytime departures for a large area to the south of the airport, but in doing so would double the number of flights on the existing route to the east.

Paul Haskins, general manager of London Terminal Control, NATS, said: “At the moment, departures from Stansted heading towards the south-east are kept lower for longer when compared to the route heading east because of Heathrow arrivals.

“Moving the majority of departure flights from one route to another will improve the flow of aircraft around the London system and greatly increase the efficiency of the airport’s operation.

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“Air traffic is increasing and modern aircraft are far more efficient nowadays so we need to modernise the airspace to match aircraft capability. This proposed change, together with those being consulted on at other London airports, is vital if we are to enable the success of the UK’s FAS.”

Whilst the driver for change is around network performance, there are local efficiency benefits and the consultation is being supported by Stansted Airport.

Chris Wiggan, the airport’s head of public affairs, said: “We recognise the importance of NATS’ London Airspace Management Programme (LAMP) that aims to re-design the airspace around London in order to improve efficiency and reduce environmental impacts.

“We welcome the NATS-led consultation on the proposed airspace changes relating to Stansted which will enable people to find out more and give their views on the plans.

“The safe and efficient management of airspace in the south-east of England is an important issue and the consultation will provide an opportunity for people to play a full and active part in the process.”

• The consultation is primarily through the airport’s consultative committee and engagement is open to the public to respond via