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About this consultation

The Heathrow Airspace and Future Operations Consultation is running for eight weeks from 8 January until 11.55pm on 4 March 2019. It is seeking feedback on changes to our airspace and future runway operations. 

This consultation gives you the chance to have your say on three key areas: 

  • Airspace change for an expanded Heathrow: the local factors we should consider in different geographic areas when designing future flight paths.  
  • Airspace change to make better use of our existing two runways: the local factors we should consider in different geographic areas when designing new flight paths for some arrivals on our existing two runways 
  • Future operations for an expanded Heathrow: how we will operate our three runways in the future, this includes managing noise; respite through runway and airspace alternation; directional preference and night flights.

An overview of each of the specific topics covered in this consultation is available via the video and expandable sections below. While we recommend that you read and consider all parts of the consultation, to respond there is no requirement to answer questions on all of the topics.

A full list of consultation events is available via the Homepage of this website.

VIDEO | Heathrow Airspace and Future Operations Overview

Consultation topics

Airspace Change

This section of the consultation is about Heathrow’s airspace and the areas where flight paths could be positioned in the future. This section will be of interest to most consultees.

It also looks at how Heathrow can make better use of our existing runways. To do this, Heathrow needs to make changes to the way aircraft arrive at the airport before expansion and the construction of a new runway. The changes we need to make and the areas where flight paths could be positioned are included within this section.

We’re asking three (3) questions on this topic within this consultation and we have provided an interactive map and postcode checker tool to assist you within our online response form – here.

Alternatively, for more information on the topic, click here.

Managing noise at an expanded Heathrow

We appreciate that local communities are concerned about the proposed expansion of Heathrow and its potential noise effects. This section will be of interest to anyone who would like to know more about how we propose to manage noise at an expanded Heathrow.

There is one (1) question, with three (3) parts, on this topic within this consultation which can be responded to via our online response form  – here.

Alternatively, for more information on the topic, click here.

Respite through runway and airspace alternation

We know that local communities value the breaks or reductions in noise from planes that they get when we alternate the use of our two runways today.

Our proposed approach to runway alternation will be of interest to local communities who live closer to the airport and our proposed approach to airspace alternation will be of interest to communities further away from the airport – who might not currently benefit from breaks.

There is one (1) question, with three (3) parts, on this topic within this consultation which can be responded to via our online response form  – here.

For more information on the topic, click here.

Directional preference

We are exploring options to offer communities relief from planes when we have been operating in the same direction for a long time or when communities have been experiencing planes from both Heathrow and other airports.

This section describes our proposals for a new approach to balancing operations between the east and west of the airport.

There is one (1) question, with five (5) parts, on this topic within this consultation which can be responded to via our online response form  – here.

For more information on the topic, click here.

Night flights - Early morning arrivals

We are proposing to introduce a scheduled night flight ban at an expanded Heathrow. To help us decide on the proposed timing for the scheduled night flights ban we want to know what you think we should do with our early morning arrivals for an expanded Heathrow.

There is one (1) question, with three (3) parts), on this topic within this consultation which can be responded to via our online response form – here.

For more information on the topic, click here.

Night flights - Other night restrictions

We are proposing to introduce a scheduled night flight ban at an expanded Heathrow. This section describes how we plan to manage noise over the sensitive night period.

Sometimes planes need to operate in the night period when they have not been scheduled to do so. This could be for a number of reasons such as delays that have built up during the day or for a technical fault with an aircraft that needs to be repaired. On this topic, we’re looking for comments or suggestions from you on night flights and restrictions outside of the proposed scheduled night flight ban.

There are one (1) question, with two (2) parts, on this topic within this consultation which can be responded to via our online response form – here.

For more information on the topic, click here.

How does this consultation fit with the planning process for Heathrow expansion?

Last year we consulted on our emerging plans for the expansion of Heathrow on the ground and on some of the key design principles we could use as the basis for developing Heathrow’s
future airspace.

This consultation will help us to develop our proposals for the operation of three runways at an expanded Heathrow and the airspace. It provides an opportunity for you to share your views
on two key topics related to expansion:

  1. Future Operations (how we will use the runways); and,
  2. Airspace change for expansion (the routes aircraft will fly)

Alongside our consultation on airspace changes for an expanded Heathrow, we are also consulting on proposals to make better use of our two existing runways.

This involves a change to the way some aircraft arrive at the airport, known as Independent Parallel Approaches (or “IPA”). This change would be introduced in our current two-runway airport and would improve punctuality, reduce flight cancellations and would mean that the airport would be able to recover more quickly from delays. The proposed changes would also help to reduce the number of late running flights into the night which are disruptive to local communities.

Later on this year we will be holding a second consultation on our preferred masterplan for Heathrow expansion, including the physical infrastructure changes and how we will manage the effects of our growth at the airport.

Indicative timeline for airspace change and future operations

IMAGE | Diagram of timeline for planning processes. These planning processes are explained below in text.

Planning process timelines:

Future operations (How we will use the runways):

  • Jan-Mar 2018: Stage One Consultation, Airport Expansion Consultation
  • Jan-Mar 2019: Stage Two Consultation Airspace and Future Operations Consultation
  • 2019: Stage Three Consultation Airport Expansion Consultation, New runway and physical infrastructure changes needed for expansion
  • 2020 Submission: Submission of Development Consent Order (DCO) application
  • 2020 Examination: Examination of DCO application
  • 2021 Decision: Decision made by the Secretary of State
  • 2021 Construction: Compulsory acquisition and construction starts

Airspace change for expansion (The routes aircraft will fly):

  • Jan-Mar 2018: Stage One Consultation, Airspace Principles Consultation
  • Jan-Mar 2019: Stage Two Consultation, Airspace and Future Operations Consultation (Airspace design envelopes)
  • 2022: Stage Three Consultation, Flight path options
  • 2023: Submit proposals for airspace change to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)
  • 2023: Decision made by CAA
  • 2024: New flight paths are implemented

Airspace change for our existing two runways (Independent Parallel Approaches – IPA):

  • Sep-Dec 2018: Engagement, Airspace design principles
  • Jan-Mar 2019: Stage One Consultation, Independent Parallel Approaches Consultation (Airspace design envelopes)
  • 2020: Stage Two Consultation, Flight path options
  • 2021: Submit proposals for airspace change to the CAA
  • 2022: Decision made by the CAA, new flight paths are implemented

 

How do I respond?

We’ve made it easy for you to respond to the consultation with an easy to use online questionnaire form. The questionnaire takes approximately 45 minutes to complete in full, however we know that some people might be more interested in some aspects of it than others so there is no obligation for you to complete all of the questions in all of the topic areas. You can respond to the consultation in the following ways:

Questionnaire

Completing a response to the consultation is easy using our online form. We estimate that the time required to complete all of the questions is approximately 45 minutes, however, there is no requirement to respond to all of the topics.

Consultation documents

The full list of associated documents for this consultation are available for download via this website in our Documents & Resources section.
Take me to the Documents & Resources section

See if this affects your area

We’ve made it easy for you to respond to the consultation using our online tool, including an interactive map that checks your postcode. Simply click on the link below and then “Start Questionnaire” on the next screen to find the map.