This consultation is now closed.
You may know that on 7 August 2017 we applied to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to change and modernise our flight paths for the first time since the seventies. In preparation for our application, we ran two public consultations (2016 and 2017) to help us to better understand the impacts of our flight path options. Our Application for Airspace Change sought to balance community, regulatory and operational requirements in finding the best solution possible.
In September 2017, the CAA paused our Application for Airspace Change and, amongst other things, asked us to make changes to one of our eight proposed flight paths for departing aircraft to ensure that it complied with regulatory and operational requirements. This flight path, which was referred to as option E7 in last year’s consultation, was angled to reduce Cramond overflight but in the opinion of the regulator it turned too early. Since that pause, we have worked hard with the regulator and air traffic controllers to understand the issue and develop the best solution to respond to community concerns and meet operational and CAA requirements
Following months of redesign and flight testing (in airline simulators), we have identified a solution, which we propose to include when we restart our Application for Airspace Change. The solution we have reached is slightly different, immediately after take off, to the flight path options we included in our discussions with your community and in the proposal, which we announced in August.
After the two previous public consultations we believe we are aware of all of the issues arising from a change to flight paths in your area. We were not obliged to re-consult, however, in view of the modifications we have made to the previously consulted on flight path E7 we wanted to double check that our new proposal, known as E7a, raised any local issues and invited you to participate by giving feedback on the proposed E7a flight path. Summaries of the outcomes of this supplementary consultation plus the previous two consultations can be found in the Consultation Materials section.
Why is there a change to the E7 flight path?
The feedback from communities in our previous consultations asked us to use the Firth of Forth, to minimise night flying and to limit any new impact on the towns of Cramond, North Queensferry, Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay. In our Application for Airspace Change to the CAA, we applied with a flight path proposal for E7 which included an early turn for aircraft when they reach an altitude of 500ft, moving flights away from Cramond to the west, and guiding aircraft along the Firth of Forth to limit any increase to the impact on North Queensferry, Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay. CAA design criteria states that no aircraft should turn before the designated end of the runway (DER). As some of the faster climbing aircraft can reach 500ft before the end of the runway, the E7 proposal needed to be amended. We have added a way point at the end of the runway – the DER – that all aircraft must reach before turning, irrespective of the altitude they have reached. For new flight path proposal E7a, a 20° turn at the DER will guide aircraft west and along the Firth of Forth. This proposed solution moves the centre line of the flight path further away from Cramond compared to the current centre line for similar departures off Runway 06.
How will E7a be different to how the current flight paths are used?
There is more information in the Consultation Material section including maps, times and facts comparing E7a with the current flight path and the E7 option that was included in Consultation 2. We have also updated the Environmental Impact Assessment to include E7a and this can be found at here.