Flight Trials to Increase Aircraft Noise
Heathrow to be allowed to use two runways at same time
Residents in south west and west London are likely to notice changes in arrival and departure patterns at Heathrow over the coming weeks.
Airport operator BAA is launching a four month experiment to explore ways of running Heathrow more effectively and reducing flight delays.
The first trial runs from November 1 to February 29 with a second to follow next summer from July 1 to September 30.
Under current rules the airport is only permitted to use one runway for take offs and one for landing. Their use is switched everyday at 3pm to give residents under the flight path a regular break from aircraft noise.
During the trial BAA will be able to use both runways at the same time for arrivals during busy periods when flights are delayed. This could mean a limited number of flights being allowed to land or take off during the current half-day respite periods. BAA will have discretion over when it can initiate these special measures.
The testing periods were approved by South East Airports Taskforce Group which was set up by the Government to explore ways of making airports 'better, not bigger'. There will be no increase in the overall number of movements at the airport.
Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia said, "The only way local people can have confidence in these trials is if they are conducted with complete openness and transparency.
"We have campaigned long and hard to protect our residents from aircraft noise and will be working with our 2M colleagues to ensure the impacts are fully understood and fairly presented."
The trials will be undertaken by BAA under the supervision of the Civil Aviation Authority.