Edinburgh Airport’s flight path viability pilot has proved a success despite record complaints from local residents
Edinburgh Airport has today (Monday, February 8) published a report on its recent flight path trial, which saw a Standard Instrument Departure (SID) route rolled out for a five-month period to assess its viability for departing aircraft.
It’s TUTUR route, which was rolled out as a pilot in June in a long-term bid to increase the airport’s capacity, ended in November and, according to the report, has proved to be a huge success.
The report, which shows the trial achieved all of its objectives, has already been shared with the local communities involved, as well as all those who gave feedback and other Scottish stakeholders.
Its key findings show that Edinburgh Airport can successfully achieve one-minute separation of departing aircraft at peak times.
According to the airport, one-minute separation times can relieve aircraft congestion and makes the runway more efficient.
The report also shows:
· the benefit of RNAV1 – a new radar system allowing a more precise route to be flown
· less runway holding point congestion meaning reduced fuel burn and CO2 emissions
· benefits to allowing increased airspace capacity while acknowledging noise complaints from some members of neighbouring communities
There were 21,691 departures from Edinburgh Airport between June 25 and October 28 –15,917 (73%) of which departed from Runway 24 – flying across parts of West Lothian.
Of the aircraft departing from Runway 24 during the trial, 2,626 aircraft followed the TUTUR departure route (16%).
Although the TUTUR route did meet its trial objectives, a small number (4.7 per cent) of aircraft were deemed off-track; meaning that the route will be reviewed for this issue to be resolved, should the airport decide to apply to make it a permanent.
Edinburgh Airport experienced a peak in complaints during the trial period with 7,934 complaints from 567 individuals.
The complaint analysis also shows that over 57% of these complaints were not about TUTUR flights but were instead about aircraft operating on flight paths that have existed since the runway was built in the mid-1970s.
A large percentage of complaints received came from the same complainants, with 40% of complaints received from five individuals.
A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport, said: “The report published today shows the viability of one-minute separation times between departing aircraft from Edinburgh Airport during our peak periods – this presents a great opportunity for us to meet the demands of Scotland’s growing international reputation and will enable us to create more jobs and help grow the economy.
“While the trial was a success – there is still work to do both technically and with our neighbouring communities.
“We will continue to work very closely with NATS to address the anomalies which will enable us to meet the demand that comes with running Scotland’s busiest airport.
“The majority of complaints received during the trial period came from a relatively small number of people who live in pockets of communities in West Lothian. While the majority of these complaints did not relate to flights on the TUTUR flight path – we take our neighbours’ concerns seriously.
“Our decision on TUTUR will be not be taken hastily. The trial has allowed us to collect data to inform that decision and should we decide to progress for a permanent change we shall have two 3 month periods of full consultation, an environmental impact assessment and further rigorous tests.
“All options will be considered and views listened to before we come to our decision later in the year.
“The fact that the majority of complaints during the trial were not about flights on the TUTUR flight path and were in fact about existing flight paths gives us food for thought about the benefit of a potential full consultation – with people in Edinburgh, The Lothians and Fife – on modernising all of our airspace to enable growth with minimal disruption.
“We care greatly about our local standing as we are local ourselves; the vast majority of the people who benefit from the 8000 jobs that Edinburgh Airport supports live within 20 miles of the airport.
“To this end we have implemented a new noise complaints policy, created an arrivals and departures guide to further explain procedures in place at Edinburgh Airport, met with Community Councils in areas affected to understand local concerns and we will be proactively updating our five year Noise Action Plan and reviewing the way we monitor and mitigate noise from our operations.”