UK Airport Arrivals and Departure volumes by week.

The following are our latest Arrivals and Departure counts by week for a selection of Airports. The list of Airports shown can be expanded by sending your request to comms@aircrafttrafficsurvey.com. The table is updated and extended on Tuesdays.

Baseline for 2019: The weekly Arrival and Departure activity for w/e 14th-April.

AirportCount of Arrivals + Departures
BIRMINGHAM INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT1,242
BRISTOL AIRPORT1,146
EDINBURGH AIRPORT961
FARNBOROUGH AIRPORT349
LONDON BIGGIN HILL AIRPORT186
LONDON CITY AIRPORT858
LONDON GATWICK AIRPORT5,384
LONDON HEATHROW AIRPORT9,123
LONDON LUTON AIRPORT2,551
LONDON STANSTED AIRPORT3,613
MANCHESTER AIRPORT3,062
SOUTHEND AIRPORT420

UK Gov. petition – Introduction and Background.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/577316

We have a collective responsibility to take ownership of how our postcode airspace is being overflown by the aviation industry.  Please do not assume there are existing laws to protect us, there aren’t.  This UK petition will provide us with a firm footing from which to launch further initiatives relating to the management of aircraft noise and emissions and to achieve that we need public access to the facts. Let’s help make the aviation industry both accountable and responsible and prevent them from chasing us out from our homes and communities.

As UK airports expand the number of domestic and international flights will also increase but at a proportionately faster rate.  As a result, more and more of our home, workplaces, schools and open spaces i.e. Postcodes, are being overflown by multiple aircraft at lower altitudes en-route to their target destination.  This has become a UK nationwide issue that is touching millions of people’s lives in terms of noise and emissions and it’s getting worse, but why?

As UK airports expand the number of domestic and international flights will also increase but at a proportionately faster rate.  As a result, more and more of our home, workplaces, schools and open spaces i.e. Postcodes, are being overflown by multiple aircraft at lower altitudes en-route to their target destination.  This has become a UK nationwide issue that is touching millions of people’s lives in terms of noise and emissions and it’s getting worse, but why?

The actual route taken by a flight considers multiple factors, such as the plane’s altitude, speed, load, proximity to the airport and where it needs to be at a point-in-time.  Every flight route over the UK mainland is determined not by the airports or airlines but by Air Traffic Controllers, who take their instruction from a government owned body called NATs.   

But the routing models used by NATs are not required to include the effects of aircraft noise and noise aggregation or engine emissions by postcode.  The reason is simple, Aviation is exempt from our Noise and Environment Acts i.e., there is no legal obligation for NATs to consider noise or emissions by postcode when designing or amending flight routes and patterns.

So how bad is the problem?  The answer is there is no official answer.  No government agency is required to collect or share flight activity by postcode.  However, individual researchers like myself together with many Aircraft Campaign groups have recorded evidence that shows that hundreds of UK postcodes are subject to clusters of 9+ planes per hour, at differing altitudes and often with only a few minutes of separation.  Result: a continuous wall of noise, vibration and potentially pollutants such as Carbon dioxide, Carbon monoxide, Nitrogen oxide and particulate matter such as soot.

As represented by the yellow, amber and red map-pins many of the impacted postcodes are 20-35 miles out from the metropolitan cities and from the airports but the situation is often even more congested for hundreds of postcodes within cities such as London.  Remember, the noise and emissions from an aircraft passing overhead will last 40-60 seconds when the flight is below 26k feet.  Additionally, 50% of the flights are early morning from 4:00am, or late evening past 9:00pm, but always on a Saturday and Sunday.  When have you ever been consulted about any of this?

How will knowing the flight activity numbers by postcode help?  The official flight numbers will enable all of us to understand the scale and occurrences of overflying by postcode, which, if not controlled, will impact on sleep patterns, wellbeing and general health of all our families.  Additionally, the same data can be used by the next generation of noise and emission models (algorithms) to determine the “best” routes through our airspace. 

What if flight activity volumes numbers are not provided?  The overflying of postcodes will remain uncontrolled, and no doubt get worse as the further demand for flights is satisfied through the introduction of new flight direct descent technologies.  These same technologies are also designed to support the introduction of electrical passenger drones and other low level flying devices.

The requirement to publish monthly flight activity by UK postcode is simple, not onerous and is very do-able.  It does not require changes to our existing laws but it will provide much needed insight into the operational management of our airspace that exists above our homes, open spaces and communities. 

By sharing flight activity numbers will it not impact local house prices?  The reasons for living or moving into a postcode area are complex and aircraft noise and emissions are only one of the many lifestyle factors and priorities considered.  Also, like road noise, people have different levels of tolerance.  So, for these reasons, we do not think house prices will be impacted by having postcode aircraft activity published on a regular basis.  It is more likely to have  a positive effect on house prices as people will be given the opportunity and information to actively protect their postcode communities from the Aviation industry and also the confidence to further invest in their properties.

It all sounds very sensible where do I sign?  We need 100k signatures from across the nation to either mobilise the UK Government or to encourage one of the major political parties to adopt this requirement within their party ‘s manifesto. 

This requirement is beyond the remit of your local MPs and it is also too big for any of the airport owners or airlines.  Therefore, it’s up to us UK citizens to take ownership and drive through this proposal.

This is your petition so please do sign by clicking on the link and then we can start leading the conversation on how our airspace could and should be managed by our appointed Aviation agents.  If you have further questions, then please email me at Richard.Herson@AircraftTrafficSurvey.com

Investors back extra runway at Gatwick as expansion would add 90 extra flights per day, but what does it really mean in terms of flight events, noise and emissions?

The story of 90 extra flights for Gatwick airport was published by HARRIET DENNYS FOR FINANCIAL MAIL ON SUNDAY PUBLISHED: 22:21, 2 January 2021 | UPDATED: 10:02, 3 January 2021

90 extra flights per day is assumed to mean 90 Departures. 90 Departures implies 90 additional Arrivals. 90 Arrivals equates to 540 flight Arrival flight events due to stacking and zigzagging through UK airspace prior to landing.

Assuming 50% the 90 extra flights are destined for UK airports this equates another 315 Departure and Arrival flight events.

In total 90 extra flights equates to 945 flight events per day with each flight event being associated with airspace noise and emissions.

The number of persons benefiting from the 90 fights will be approximately 18k. Based on current legislation the number of UK citizens impacted by increased noise and emissions will be 30+ million per everyday, 7 days a week.

The UK airspace is lawless in terms of noise and emissions as there are no legal controls or penalties in this area*.

(please use the twitter account @RichardHerson to comment on this article)

* As stated by the UK CAA. I.e. Aircraft noise is not currently a statutory nuisance in the UK. It is not covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990 or the Noise Act 1996. This means that local authorities do not have the legal power to take action on matters of aircraft noise, and nor does the CAA have the legal power to prevent aircraft flying over a particular location or at a particular time for environmental reasons.

Making sense of the Aircraft Traffic Assessment Scorecard.

This article explains how to make sense of the information contained within the Aircraft Traffic Assessment Scorecard, both for the Full and 31 Day assessments.

Date of SurveyFor the 31 Day Scorecard the date represents the end date and time for the survey. The start date and time is calculated 31 days earlier.

Whereas for the Full Scorecard the date represents when the survey was requested and is for information only.
LocationIs the identifier for the location being surveyed.
Baseline geo-coordinatesThe geo-coordinates, Lat & Long, are used to define the centre of the 1 mile Assessment airspace bubble. Typically this is the actual location of the point-of-interest.
Survey TypeDescribes the type of assessment survey being reported. The full survey analyses 93 days of flight events based on 2019. The 31 Day survey uses the actual survey date, see above.
Assessment disruption bandThe Assessment band category e.g. FREQUENT, OCCASIONAL, VERY HIGH etc. This is an important measure.
Assessment disruption valueThe actual Assessment value. Useful for gaining an understanding where the location sits within the disruption band i.e. bottom, middle or top. This is an important measure.
Assessment descriptionA description that attempts to relate the Assessment to an equivalent road noise.
Band range.Shows the lower and upper levels for the Assessment band. Designed to be used in conjunction with the Assessment disruption value. This is important data.
Flight holding stack identified?If a fight holding stack is identified the returned value is ‘YES’. Meaning planes will be held in a holding loop at between 7,000-12,000 feet. Multiple planes can exist in the stack at the same time and the planes are in “fly” mode i.e. not gliding.
Count of ALL flightsThe total number of flights that occurred within the Assessment postcode for the entire period and then averaged by day and by hour. All flights are included, however those above 35,000 feet will have little impact.
Flights above 26,000 feetThe total number of flights that occurred above 26,000 feet within the Assessment airspace. Flights between 26,000 and 35,000 feet can be heard from the ground. Flights at this height are someway from the destination airport.
Flights between 16,000 and 26,000 feetThe total number of flights that occurred between 16,000 and 26,000 feet within the assessment period. Flights at this height implies the area is being overflown and the airspace is being used by 1 or more airports.
Flights between 13,000 and 16,000 feetAs above but between 13,000 and 16,000 feet. However, the planes will be clearly heard from the ground and will be clearly visible.
Flights between 7,000 and 12,000 feetAs above but between 7,000 and 12,000 feet. This is the height that most planes are held within holding stacks prior to landing.
Flights between 6,000 and 7,000 feetThe total number of flights that occurred between 6,000 and 7,000 feet. Planes leave their holding position at this height ready for final descent.
Flights between 5,000 and 6,000 feet
Flights between 4,000 and 5,000 feet
Flights between 3,000 and 4,000 feet
The total number of flights that occurred between 6,000 and 3,000 feet. At this height it implies the planes have recently departed or are about to land. Both scenarios will be relatively noisy.
Flights below 3,000 feetSee above but very visual too.
4 or more flights per hourThe count of occurrences where 4 or more flights occurred within a single 60 minute period. For a flight to qualify it has to be below 26,000 feet. 4 flights within 60 minutes averages a flight every 15 minutes which gives the impression of a continuous background noise/rumble.
9 or more flights per hourThe count of occurrences where 9 or more flights occurred within a single 60 minute period. For a flight to qualify it has to be below 26,000 feet. 9 flights within 60 minutes averages a flight every 7 minutes which gives the impression of a continuous background noise/rumble.
Departures between 1,500 and 15,000
feet
The total number of departures between 1,500 and 15,000 feet within the assessment period. Departures tend to be noisier than Arrivals.
Hours between 0:00 AM and 7:59 AMThe 2 values shown represent; 1) count of aircraft movements that occurred within a one hour period for the duration of the Assessment [93 days for the Full Assessment and 31 for the Latest Assessment], and 2) the average occurrences per day per hourly period.

Planes below 26,000 feet occurring these times are very likely to disturb sleep patterns.
Hours between 8:00 AM and 9:59 PMAs above but also includes a 3rd value that represents the average count per hour within the 14 hour period (8:00am – 10:00pm)
Hours between 10:00 PM and 11:59 PMAs above. Planes below 26,000 feet occurring these times are very likely to disturb sleep patterns.
Time in seconds an aircraft existed in the
Airspace Bubble
The average time in seconds it takes for a flight to travel through your airspace bubble which as a radius of 1 mile. The longer the period the greater will be the level of disruption.
Altitude for all flightsThe average altitude for all flights passing through the area.
Altitude of departures between 1,500 and
15,000 feet
The average altitude for Departing flights that are between 1,500 and 15,000 feet.
Altitude of flights below 20,000 feetThe average altitude for all flights passing through the area that are below 20,000 feet.
Number of disruptions per dayThe average daily number of disruptions to expect. Note: please see our article about how the disruption is calculated. This is an important measure.
Percentage of disruptions that occur
Out-Of-Hours and at Weekends
The percentage of disruptions that occur at weekends and/or after hours.
Distance from baseline in milesThe average distance the disruptive flight was from the baseline co-ordinates, in fractions of a mile
Scale of regular disruptionPrior to making your final decision we recommend you validate our Assessment by an actual site visit. The scorecard includes a list of 10 dates and times when the disruptions are most likely to occur.
Period and Frequency. E.g. Sunday @ 6:00 – 11 time(s) in 13 weeks. Approx:14 flight events.

This example states that on Sunday mornings between 6:00am – 6:59am there is regularly* 14 flights over the postcode area.

* 11 occurrences within the 13 week or 4 week Assessment period.

Our personal Airspace bubble

Each of us live inside our own personal Airspace bubble but how do we know what’s going on in that bubble and whether or not that activity could disturb the quality of our lives?

In the context of this article an Airspace bubble is a 1 mile radius from a specified point such as our home, holiday location or outdoor leisure space.

This article focuses on the impact and assessment of commercial Aircraft within our personal Airspace bubbles. Firstly, we need to understand the terms such as impact and assessment before interpreting any results. Our Assessment ignores all aircraft above 26,000 feet as above this height the noise, and possible pollution, is less likely to disturb our lives. Likewise, we also ignore aircraft that share our bubble for less that 7.5 seconds as it implies any noise would not be around long enough to create a significant disturbance.

Experience has told us that real disruption is not caused by individual aircraft operating within our Airspace bubble but it’s actually the repetitive nature of multiple aircraft at regular times that has the biggest impact.

To summarise our assessment of disturbance is based on all flights that regularly share our Airspace at the same time for periods greater than 7.5 seconds and are below 26,000 feet. Therefore, our assessment could say for a location; between 8pm and 11pm on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday there is an 80% chance you will hear and/or see aircraft within a 10-15 minute period. The disturbance classification for this location, across all time periods, is: Frequent“.

Having an understanding of the facts you can now make a personally decision about whether this situation meets your life style criteria.

We all have the right to know and to make informed decisions.