Noise complaints and the Airport's replies



The Airport’s replies to complaints all appear to be using a default template adjusted to suit each complaint in terms of time of day and flights specified (if any). So, replying to a complaint from Heddon in August 2022,


The Airport said: “All aircraft was on the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved Standard Instrument Departure (SID) route GIRLI 3X, which is also an identified noise preferential route and therefore the aircraft was compliant with the approved procedure.


Our view is: The Airport has never acknowledged that it’s the approved route (GIRLI 3X) and its management by the Airport that are the problem.


The Airport also said: “None flew directly over Heddon and thus, the aircraft were complaint with the recommendation the CAA made in their Post Implementation Review of the SID routes (dated Dec 2020) that all aircraft should avoid overflight of Heddon.”


Our view is: It is unclear what is meant by “directly”, the Airport needs to define this. Even half a mile to a mile away, aircraft can still be noisy for you. If aircraft departures could be managed to use the whole width of a revised 4 mile wide flight path (currently 2 miles wide – 1 mile either side of the centre line) then it might be possible to reduce overall noise impacts to acceptable levels. Currently, most flights are on or close to the centre line, concentrating the noise.


The Airport also said: “The airport is currently running its flight schedule service at approximately 85% of 2019 levels. The flight schedules are generally similar to the schedules prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.”


Our view is: The Airport appears to believe that that the noise can’t be worse. We know that’s wrong and that, as complaints indicate, it is a lot worse.


The Airport also said: “The flight schedules are designed to optimise aircraft flight slots and ensure their operations are viable, not just here but also at all the airports we connect to and ensure that the aircraft based here are viable for the airline. These take into account customer demand, connecting flights, holiday package deals, turnaround times. The schedules are being constantly reviewed by the airlines (for the latest news and updates on the scheduled services, please refer to the airline’s website), especially in this critical recovery period from the Covid-19 pandemic.”


Our view is: The Airport is saying that it is a business set up primarily to make profits by meeting the commercial and operational requirements of the airlines. From ANAG’s point of view, the Airport could be said to be doing this irrespective of the serious noise, health and climate change impacts. We are not sure that it cares.


The Airport also said: “Your complaints have been logged and they will be reported back to and discussed with Senior Management, as well as the Airport Consultative Committee and Airline Technical Committee.”


Our view is: ANAG is confident that all the complaints are being logged. It is what’s then done with them and the actions that the Airport doesn’t take and has never taken that are the issue.