Glasgow bosses: flight paths are ‘not fit for purpose’

Posted: 15 January 2018 | | No comments yet

As it announces the opening of a public consultation into modernisation proposals, Glasgow Airport has put forward the case for wanting to change the flight paths which have remained the same for 50 years.


SOARING: Passenger numbers at Glasgow grew by more than 35 per cent between 2011 and 2016

Glasgow Airport bosses have said that 50-year-old flight paths are ‘no longer fit for purpose’ as it launches a public consultation into changing them.

The airport, which celebrated a record-breaking 9.9 million passengers last year, will be seeking feedback on proposals to modernise the airspace currently used by aircraft as they fly in and out. Its proposals form part of the UK Future Airspace Strategy (FAS), an industry-wide initiative driven by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Mark Johnston, operations director at Glasgow Airport, said: “The flight paths used at Glasgow Airport have not changed in over 50 years and, as is the case with the wider UK airspace infrastructure, they are simply no longer fit for purpose. We now need to ensure the way we manage our airspace matches the advancements that have been made in aircraft technology.”

A track density plot based on 14 days in the summer of 2016

A key element of the FAS involves removing ground-based navigation aids across the UK and using state-of-the-art satellite navigation systems. The ground-based navigation aid which Glasgow Airport currently uses to guide aircraft to and from the airfield will be decommissioned in 2019.

The move to satellite-based navigational systems will help reduce the amount of time planes queue, both in the air and on the ground, and reduce overall CO2 and fuel emissions, according to the UK Govenrnment.

“Modern aircraft are now equipped to use satellite navigation meaning they can fly more efficient, reliable and direct routes. In moving to this new system, not only will we be able to improve the punctuality of flights, we will be able to reduce the amount of fuel burn from aircraft at Glasgow by over 4,000 tonnes. To put this in perspective, this is the equivalent amount of fuel an A320-200 aircraft would require to operate 1,370 flights between Glasgow and Frankfurt. This in turn will allow us to reduce CO2 emissions by 21 per cent (12,910 tonnes).

“It is important to stress we will only make changes to the approach or departure flight paths once we have considered the views of all those who respond to the airspace change consultation. We will host a number of drop-in sessions over the course of the coming months and all views will then be presented to our regulator, the CAA, before the necessary approval can be granted.” 

Mark Johnston added: “We are fully committed to growing the airport responsibly and modernising our airspace will help us achieve that. It is important that our communities and stakeholders are fully involved in this modernisation process and we would encourage people to participate.”


Image showing departure off the west runway. 78 per cent of all of Glasgow Airport’s departures take off westbound on what it calls runway 23

Further information on the airspace consultation, including how to respond, can be found here.

The airport is also required to publish an updated noise action plan every five years and will be undertaking a parallel 13-week consultation on a draft plan. The noise action plan sets out proposed measures to manage and mitigate the impact of aviation-related noise.

Information on the Noise Action Plan can be found here. The deadline for submissions for both consultations is 13 April 2018

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