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Consultation launched on airspace rules as airport aims to double flight numbers

TAG Farnborough Airport would like residents and stakeholders to comment on proposals for new airspace rules, aimed at reducing noise

Farnborough Airport is consulting on airspace changes

TAG Farnborough Airport is urging residents to have their say on proposed airspace rules designed to reduce the impact on the area as flights double over the next five years.

The airport currently handles a maximum of 28,000 air traffic movements in and out of Farnborough each year, however, TAG has approval to gradually increase this.

By next year there will be around 45,000 ingoing and outgoing flights and this will increase to 50,000 by 2019.

Nearby areas such as Fleet and Church Crookham will see less flights overhead but small villages like Crondall could see an increase.

TAG’s master plan, which was set out in 2009 and approved in 2011, states the projected future growth of the airport will be well accommodated and its facilities are sufficient to cope with the increase in flights.

TAG is proposing to introduce new measures to help reduce noise around the airport. In December last year, the airport said it intended to submit an Aerospace Change Proposal (ACP) to the UK Civil Aviation Authority so planes would not disturb residents as frequently and could travel more efficiently.

A spokesman for TAG Farnborough Airport said: “Creating a known air traffic control environment will assist the airport in catering for an increasing number of air transport movements and do so in a way which benefits efficiency and safety for many airspace users, and the environment. The impact on residents and stakeholders has been of primary importance throughout the pre-consultation design phase.

“Noise is an important consideration for local people and the proposed design option aims to further reduce the overall impact of noise, for instance, by optimising arrival and departure routes.”

Kevin Daley, a member of the Farnborough Aerodrome Consultative Committee (FACC) and chairman of the Mytchett, Frimley Green and Deepcut society, said a number of constituents fought against plans to increase the airport’s traffic movements.

He said: “If they try to go beyond the 50,000 there might be a revolution. A lot of organisations objected quite strongly to the plans and around several thousand people were against the permission being granted.

“The biggest issue is the airport has never been at capacity. The number of large aircrafts is increasing and that is beginning to cause people concern and annoyance because the aircrafts are bigger, it’s the visual impact of an 80 tonne aircraft coming over the top of your house that is causing the impact.

“That has caused some complaints because people see aircrafts coming over their houses and think it is too low or off track.”

The airport currently operates within an uncontrolled air space, which is shared with other airports, so aircraft often have longer routings and a less predictable descent or climb, causing more aircraft to fly low over houses. The proposed new operating environment has elements of controlled airspace, so there is a more predictable flow of air traffic, resulting in fewer flights at a low altitude and aircraft flying fewer track miles around the airport.

Planes will also be able to climb higher more quickly and will remain higher for longer.

Brandon O’Reilly, chief executive of TAG, said: “We are seeking to make an application to the Civil Aviation Authority so planes that leave and arrive can have predetermined routes in built up areas.

 “The prime objective is to reduce our impact on the environment.”

Last year the airport received 220 complaints regarding aircrafts that were too noisy, flying low or not appearing to be travelling on their correct paths.

TAG is encouraging members of the public, aviation stakeholders and other interested parties to provide feedback on the proposed airspace change. A public consultation was launched this week and will end on Friday May 2. Feedback will be analysed and, where appropriate, used to modify the proposal before an application is submitted in August.

Plans can be viewed at and feedback submitted to Farnborough Airspace Consultation Responses, PO Box 584, Hanslow, TW39QP.

 
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