Gatwick pledge to modify ‘whiny’ aircraft

Could 28,000 jobs be created by Gatwick?
Could 28,000 jobs be created by Gatwick?

Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) has accepted recommendations over noise-reducing modifications to aeroplanes.

A spokesman said GAL will implement proposals by The Independent Arrivals Review including for it to speed up modifications to Airbus 320 series aircraft to reduce the disturbance their ‘high pitch whine’ causes to local communities.

The airport company, which is lobbying for the Government to approve its second runway bid, produced a Final Action Plan after a community consultation period.

Peter Barclay, vice-chairman of Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, said: “The routes they are discussing would be completely changed if the second runway goes ahead.”

Sally Pavey, of Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions, said: “Residents of Horsham and some of the surrounding villages, together with Copthorne and East Grinstead, are now likely to be expected to accept more noise and misery without seemingly being considered by this review, focusing as it does solely on arrival flights, and especially on communities further away from the airport.”

A GAL spokesman said these recommendations by the review, which GAL commissioned, will happen: “Improved use of continuous descent arrivals generating significantly less noise and increased flexibility for sequencing and spacing of arrivals

“Accelerated aerodynamic modification for the Airbus A320 family of aircraft to reduce the noise they produce during the approach phase of flight

“Broadening the approach “arrivals swathe” to extend between 8-14nm

“Reduced aircraft holding over land

“Development of a comprehensive online complaint management system;

“The establishment of a Noise Management Board (NMB) to oversee joint strategies to deal with noise around the airport.”

Gatwick Airport Chairman Sir Roy McNulty said: “I am grateful for the constructive feedback to Gatwick’s Proposed Action Plan from the local community which has helped to ensure the Final Action Plan is designed to meet the needs of local people affected by aircraft noise.

“Taken together, the practical steps recommended by Bo and his review team can make a real difference for local people, which is reflected in the positive community response to the review. Gatwick is now committed to working with the local community, the new Independent Noise Management Board and other partners to implement the recommendations of the review.”

Bo Redeborn, who led the review, said: “The review team is pleased that the review’s recommendations have been accepted and that work is already underway to implement many of the 23 recommendations. Ultimately, these recommendations are about reducing the impact of noise on local people, and the ongoing input of community groups and representatives has played a significant role in shaping the review’s recommendations and Gatwick’s Final Action Plan.”

The NMB’s first meeting has been planned to take place on June 21. The number of community representatives on it increased from two to four following the feedback period. Other groups involved are GAL, the CAA, NATS, ANS and the Department for Transport.

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