Emirates' Night Landings Plan Causes Anger

Council slams move to land larger planes through the night

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Hounslow Council has challenged Emirates’ airline to prove its claims that night flight landings by its A380 planes would not keep people awake.

The A380 is the largest jet airliner ever built and is the world's first full double-deck passenger aircraft.

The council has issued a strongly-worded letter to Emirates to ask for evidence that its fleet of A380s should be given permission to fly in and out of Heathrow Airport between 1am and 4am - and thereby break the current rules.

Emirates claims its fleet of technologically advanced planes will make less noise because they land at a steeper angle and part-way up the runway.

But the Council says that people who live in Hounslow West and Cranford on the airport boundary live in what is perhaps the noisiest environment in Britain - and a steeper-than-usual landing style may create more noise pollution for them, not less.

The current restrictions on night flights allow a limited number of flights between 11.30am and 6am. BAA would have to gain planning permission to implement any change.

The night flying restrictions set by the government are consulted on and reviewed, every five years. The current restrictions on night flights run until 2014.

Rob Gibson, head of environmental strategy at the council, has written to Emirates to ask the company to defend the claims made in the Financial Times on April 9, 2012.

Rob Gibson said: “Emirates needs to provide the hard evidence to support their claims, specifically around the safety of their proposal and noise reduction.

  • Whether Emirates’ existing fleet of A380s can land on a 5.5 degree approach.
  • What talks Emirates has had with BAA, Airbus and the Civil Aviation Authority about its plans for a steep approach and to land part-way down the runway.
  • What discussions there have been with the UK government and Hillingdon Council - the local planning authority - to remove the 480,000 air transport movements at the airport.
  • How it can justify its claim about noise reduction of 15 to 20 per cent by using such a novel approach to landing.
  • Whether Emirates has made a similar request to any other airport.

April 19, 2012