What are you doing?
We are going through an Airspace Change Programme in order to make proposed changes to the arrival and departure routes from Edinburgh Airport.
Why are you doing an Airspace Change Programme?
We believe that airspace modernisation is the best way to achieve the increased capacity that the airport needs. It will allow us to grow in the future, it will modernise our flight paths and we think it will benefit the country. Changes to legislation also mean that we need to upgrade to newer technology which allows aircraft to follow more accurate flight paths, you can read more about RNAV technology further down this page.
How will the Airspace Change Programme affect me?
You can see our route design options, as well as operational and noise information in the consultation material section of our website.
Why don't you just keep routes the same?
Edinburgh Airport is not alone in moving to use RNAV routes, the change is being made in accordance with national and international initiatives to improve navigational performance. The UK Future Airspace Strategy (FAS) is an aviation industry and governmental initiative to improve the efficiency of airspace and ensure that all parties are prepared for the legislative requirements to modernise. The FAS supports the introduction of RNAV routes as an enabler to the achievement of future benefits. The FAS strategic vision for 2030 is to establish:
"Safe, efficient airspace, that has the capacity to meet reasonable demand, balances the needs of all users and mitigates the impact of aviation on the environment."
To this end, the three FAS drivers of continuous improvement in Safety, Capacity and the Environment are aligned with Edinburgh Airport’s own vision for the future, in which the introduction of new technology, including RNAV routes, is a part.
Why has there been a recent increase in noise over my area? Have you made changes already?
There have been no changes to the arrival or departure flight paths at Edinburgh Airport. We are unable to make any permanent changes to airspace without following the guidance set by our regulator the Civil Aviation Authority.
There are many factors that can affect the position of an aircraft in the sky, these include; weather conditions, aircraft type and aircraft load. You can read more about the current arrival and departure procedures on our website
How can I make a complaint about noise I am currently experiencing?
Complaints regarding aircraft noise can be made by:
All complaints are registered and investigated. To allow us to fully investigate your complaint, please include your name, address including postcode, contact details and specific details of your complaint, with dates and times of the disturbance. Names and addresses will never be made public or used for any other purpose.
We aim to respond to complaints within five working days. However, when a more detailed investigation is required we will send an acknowledgment email advising when you can expect a full response.
Will you respond to my feedback?
We are unable to individually respond to feedback. We will produce a report at the end of the consultation to show what feedback has been received and how each piece of feedback has been considered in the decision making process. If you would like to make a noise complaint about current operations please follow our noise complaints process.
Who have you consulted with?
We want to ensure that the changes to the airspace above central Scotland are the right ones. We have conducted two public consultations in 2016 and 2017. This consultation is open to everyone but is of most interest to people within Cramond, Inverkeithing, Dalgety Bay and North Queensferry. We also conducted a third supplementary consultation asking for feedback on flight path E7a over areas of Cramond, Dalgety Bay, North Queensferry and Inverkeithing.
How do I know that you have considered my response and that of others? I want to be able to see all the responses to the consultation?
We take our responsibilities very seriously; we will consider all responses and we will ensure that relevant points are appropriately dealt with. The consultation responses, analysis and subsequent design process will all be made visible to the CAA as part of any submission we make to them. They will only approve an airspace change if they have evidence to show that we have followed the correct processes. A feedback report providing analysis of the issues raised and numbers of consultation responses will be published on our website.
Why should I bother responding, what difference would it make?
All feedback from this consultation will be given due consideration. We believe that there is a good case for change based around the combined benefits to the network, to operators and, on balance, to local communities as it would further the DfT objective of reducing the number of people regularly exposed to noise from aircraft below 4000ft. The role of consultation is to make this balance of benefits explicit, and allow those with a local knowledge and outlook to comment. Should the consultation highlight any significant and relevant issue that we have not taken into account in our case for change, then we will be duty bound to act on it. The CAA will review the feedback and will not approve a proposal if we have not given due consideration to relevant issues.
What are you going to do with the feedback responses?
We will review all feedback, and if required use this information to make any amends to our route options before submitting our Airspace Change Proposal to the CAA.
What will you do with my response? Will you be giving feedback on the results of the consultation?
How many people lie under the current flight paths?
There are currently 332,029 people living under the currently flight paths, with aircraft flying up to 7,000ft.
Who will benefit from the changes proposed and how will they benefit?
Our aim is to develop a plan for our airspace that would benefit all, meeting both our aspirations for growth and communities’ desire for less noise and disruption. This is why we are talking to communities prior to designing the routes. We believe that growth in the airport’s capacity will benefit Scotland. The airport supports 23,000 jobs across Scotland and generates approximately £1bn for our economy every year. Building more capacity into our airspace and modernising it will allow us to meet the demand of those airlines and passengers wishing to come to Scotland, thus creating more jobs and GVA.
Who will be disadvantaged by the changes proposed and how will they be disadvantaged?
We will work hard to make sure that we balance our operational requirements with the impact on communities. We will endeavour not to add to the burden but there will clearly be communities that will be flown over.
Are you not the gamekeeper and the poacher?
All airports are regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and although we gather and provide information it is reported openly and without colour. Anyone who believes this is not the case should contact the CAA with their concerns.
You didn't listen to us over TUTUR, why should we trust you now?
We did listen. We stopped the trial early, we’ve talked to communities and this consultation is the result of that. Everyone has a voice and everyone will be listened to.
How are you going to compensate me?
This consultation is to gather feedback on the local impacts of flight paths. Once the design options are decided, we can explore options on compensation and mitigation.
How long does the process take?
Our estimate is that the process will take approximately 18 months from the commencement of consultation to the CAA decision.
If successful when will this start?
If successful, the new flight paths will come into effect in Spring 2019.
How can you consult when CAP725 is under consultation?
We’ve discussed this with the CAA and are clear that we can consult under the auspices of the existing CAP 725
Will this mean more flights overhead? Will I see/hear more flights?
This consultation is about how we modernise the existing routes to achieve the optimal solution operationally and environmentally. The consultation is not about the general trend of increasing numbers of flights. The net effect of these proposals will be less noise - aircraft will climb higher, more quickly on departure. However, flight paths will change this may mean some areas will be overflown more than today, others less, and some will not notice any significant change.
Why does the consultation not include flights over 7,000ft?
Flights above 7000ft (AGL) are high enough so that the impact of overflights is less severe for those on the ground below. As such the government guidelines stipulate that for routes above 7000ft the emphasis should be on minimizing the environmental impact due to CO2 emissions. Further it is stipulated that consultation with stakeholders on the ground is not required for routes changes above 7000ft AGL.
Why should some communities suffer with more traffic for air route benefits that add to profits for the airport?
The proposal aims to provide benefit to both the operations and the environment. It is important to note that when making changes it is a primary objective to reduce the overall number of people affected by overflights (particularly below 4000ft). Modern PBN navigation gives the opportunity to position routes with more flexibility and for the aircraft to follow the routes with more precision. Hence this gives the option to design routes which avoid some areas which previously were overflown. There can also be environmental benefits in terms of reduced CO2 emissions per flight.
Can we trust you?
Yes. It is in everyone’s interest that our information is clear and concise so that as many people as possible can comment and inform future decision making. Edinburgh Airport has worked closely with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), NATS and the Consultation Institute to ensure that we are adhering to the consultation process. The process for airspace change is regulated by the CAA who will only approve an airspace change if we can evidence that we have followed the correct procedures.
Are you just doing this to fatten the airport up for sale?
No. No matter who owns the airport, capacity will be an issue and we believe that we need to modernise the airspace around it. It’s an Edinburgh Airport management decision. Our owners are aware and supportive.
Is there no other way to increase capacity?
We believe that airspace modernisation is the best way to achieve the capacity that the airport needs. It will allow us to grow in the future, it will modernise our flight paths and we think it will benefit the country.
What is the CAA?
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is the government organisation responsible for the regulation and safety of Air Transport in the UK. Amongst other things they are responsible for the planning and regulation of all UK airspace, including the navigation and communications infrastructure to support safe and efficient operations. The CAA is staffed by civilian experts from the CAA and military experts from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) with experience of commercial, business/private, recreational and military aviation. The needs of all users are accommodated, as far as possible, taking into account safety, environmental, economic and national security considerations. The CAA are in turn answerable to the Department for Transport, and the Secretary of State for Transport.
You have fewer flights than in 2007 so why do you need to do it now?
Looking at old CAA data does not show the whole picture. We do have fewer flights, but in 2007 we had a higher mix of traffic, such as more flying club planes. In 2018 we’re a growing international airport and that growth is during our peak times, particularly first thing in the morning and in the early evening.
At these peaks, our existing infrastructure struggles to cope. By modernising our airspace, we can ensure we can deal with the peaks now and as the airport grows and develops.
What are RNAV routes?
RNAV is a highly accurate method of aircraft navigation. RNAV is not new, it has been in use since the 1970s, however the accuracy achievable has improved over the years and as a result there are several different specifications which determine the accuracy that can be achieved. For example RNAV5 has accuracy to ±5nm, RNAV1 has accuracy to ±1nm (note: these are minimum standards, in practice the performance is typically much better, i.e. most aircraft are able to follow the defined centreline of a straight segment to within ±0.1nm although more variation is seen around turns). RNAV1 utilises existing ground based infrastructure and satellite navigation to enable aircraft to navigate from point to point with a high degree of accuracy.
When RNAV equipped aircraft fly known routes, the on-board flight management computers can assist the pilots by predicting accurate arrival times, and create optimised descent profiles from the top of the descent to the runway. Predictable aircraft behaviour benefits both pilots and air traffic control, and helps deliver improved operational and environmental efficiency, safety, and resilience through the systemisation of operations.
Why can't RNAV routes not follow the current routes?
The new RNAV routes could follow the current routes, however this change would still require us to do a full stakeholder consultation.
This is the first time in 40 years we've consulted on altering flight paths to and from Edinburgh Airport. Rather than choosing to replicate the current flight paths we are reviewing and consulting on all arrival and departure flight paths.
What is a SID?
SID stands for Standard Instrument Departure. This is a departure route programmed into the flight management system of each aircraft to ensure that the aircraft follows a specific track upon departure from an airfield.
You're already growing, why do you need to do this?
Precisely because we are growing - our infrastructure needs extra capacity at peak time and we want to ensure that we can grow further.
Is your growth sustainable?
We think it is. Our short and long-term plans show consistent growth and we plan to deliver them. A strong Edinburgh and Scotland, combined with a cut in Air Passenger Duty (APD) will assist in hitting those growth targets.
The CAA is engaged with developing a Future Airspace Strategy or FAS. This is a major collection of projects looking at everything from the routes aircraft fly to flight performance information. How does the Edinburgh Airport project relate to the FAS?
The FAS requires improvement of navigation standards and recommends that routes are upgraded to RNAV1. The Edinburgh Airport Project is proposing to upgrade the navigation performance by introducing RNAV1 routes.
Over the last 4 weeks a constant stream of planes have passed directly over my house in Inverkeithing - is this a change that has already been made? Was this consulted on beforehand?
There have been no changes to the flightpaths. The existing flight paths have been in operation since the runway was opened in the 1970s. No new flight paths are being flown at the moment, no trials of routes have taken place, and the earliest new flight paths will be flown will be Spring 2019.
Booklet says no night flights, yet over the past 2 weeks flights have taken off between 01:00 to 03:00?
There have been no changes to the flightpaths. Currently Dalgety Bay is overflown by aircraft on 06-GOSAM departure route, this route operates 24/7. Our proposal would reduce night time flying over Dalgety Bay. The proposed route E7a would only operate 06:00 to 23:00 and this is what is referred to in the booklet.
Why was WHO (World Health Organization) guidance on noise not used in either consultation?
Our Airspace Change application must comply with the CAP725 policy set out by our regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). WHO and the European Union is currently in the process of developing the WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region as a regional update to the WHO Community Noise Guidelines. Previous guidance was issued in 1999. Our Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) models noise as Lnight as suggested by WHO guidance update (2002) and in addition to other noise indicators.
Why concentrate flights on immediate coastal area over Dalgety Bay? If aircraft took a slight turn over Cramond Island after take off, a loop over the Forth would miss all residential areas except Braefoot Bay which is industrial anyway?
We understand that residents want to see a flight path that avoids their area as much as possible however we operate under strict parameters and cannot put forward any proposal that will have a negative impact on those communities already flown over. That includes no increase in track mileage, no increase in fuel burn or fuel consumption. We have looked at a range of options further east over the Forth to try and minimise noise disruption and they do not adhere to these parameters which is why we have not put that option forward. It must meet guidelines to be considered by the CAA.
Why is this consultation on proposed flight path changes not looking at options to improve the flightpath and take it further away from densely populated areas such as Dalgety Bay? The information in the documentation is trying to persuade us it will be no worse than currently, why not aim for better? What effect would using routes G & H rather than E7a, have on EAL, financially and operationally?
Currently Dalgety Bay is overflown by aircraft on 06-GOSAM departure route - this route operates 24/7. Our proposal would reduce night time flying over Dalgety Bay. The proposed route would only operate 06:00 to 23:00. We understand that residents want to see a flight path that avoids their area as much as, we operate under strict parameters and cannot put forward any proposal that will have a negative impact on those communities already flown over. That includes no increase in track mileage, no increase in fuel burn or fuel consumption. We have looked at a range of options further east over the Forth to try and minimise noise disruption and they do not adhere to these parameters which is why we have not put that option forward. It must meet guidelines to be considered by the CAA.
In the second consultation, E1a and E1b, which are largely identical to E7a proposed, failed to comply with safety/ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) design criteria, why does E7a not now fail to comply?
E7a complies with the requirements of both ICAO and safety design criteria as detailed within the legislation we apply for Airspace Change under CAP725.
I don’t know why the changes have to be implemented now . Why can’t there be a delay? Is it absolutely necessary that we suffer these changes right away? Can’t they be postponed?
Applying for Airspace Change takes a substantial period of time to work through the various stages of the process and our current Airspace Change application began this process back in 2016. To ensure we have the runway capacity that we require and the move to RNAV technology we cannot postpone this process. Further information on RNAV technology is available within our second consultation documentation.
Is there a choice of direction of take off when there is 'no wind'?
A basic aspect of aviation safety is that aircraft need to land and take off into the wind. They can take off in the same direction as the wind, but this is only allowed if the wind speed is up to 5 knots, which is little more than a breeze. Decisions on the direction of runway usage are the sole remit of Air Traffic Control who are responsible for maintaining the safe and efficient management of air traffic within our airspace.
Pushed through before CAP 1616 are enforced?
As the airspace change process at Edinburgh Airport commenced under CAP725 we are continuing under those regulations. This approach has been agreed with the CAA.
Why has there been no sound tests in affected areas like Dalgety Bay, Aberdour, South Queensferry, Inverkeithing?
These proposed routes are not in operation so we have used projected noise levels. These models can be seen within the CAA ERCD and the EIA. If the routes are ratified then prior to them coming into operation noise measurements will be taken within communities to establish current noise levels, followed by regular re-measurements to gain an understanding of noise levels and evaluate the noise modelling.
Concerned about future proofing - if this flight path is approved we have no guarantees that it won’t be used 24/7 because of increased demand. The 6am start is already hugely noisy and 2 min intervals at capacity would be intolerable.
Any change to times of use for this departure route, if approved, would require further consultation via the CAP1616 process. The airport cannot make any changes to those times without going through this consultation process and subsequently approval from the CAA.
On page 5 of the consultation booklet it says that by 2019 there will be 42 flights per day - how has this figure been arrived at? There were around 130 flights from 11:30 today to end of day, your estimate seems low.
The total number of departures in 2016 was 56915, with 11587 of those on runway 06 (departing towards the Forth). That equates to 21% of flights and the equivalent of 76 days of full-time usage which we have based this on. It must be noted that wind direction dictates the direction of arrival and departure, in turn dictating the number of hours runway 06 is used, so the number of flight has been averaged out to reflect this.
In North Queensferry we have the noise and pollution of the trains, traffic over the Forth Road Bridge and Queensferry Crossing. What is the impact on North Queensferry’s community health with the proposed changes?
The present consultation is to consider the impact from the change in the E7 flight path and makes assumptions that current disturbance to our quality of life re noise and pollution are acceptable. This is not so, Environmental considerations have changed considerably since the current flight paths were adopted. So we should review plans taking them from first principles. What happens if the noise is above Scottish government Guidelines on the new flight path?
The Environmental Impact Assessment was written and analysed by Ricardo and within the document’s noise section modelling and analysis was carried out by Anderson Acoustics. The CAA ERCD also carries our noise analysis and modelling. The EIA fully analyses various potential environmental impacts of the route amendment, including health, noise, tranquillity impacts and the impacts any changes may have on schools and hospitals.
The Scottish Government does not have guidelines on aircraft noise.
Why have the residents in the eastern expansion of Dunfermline not been included in the supplementary consultation, we are currently plagued by low flying planes while the wind is easterly and we are very likely to be troubled by the proposals
The new flight path E7a is designed to pull aircraft away from Dunfermline which will also reduce noise.
At the moment flights over Aberdour are horrific, even though there is no east wind - why?
The new flight path E7a is designed to pull aircraft away from Aberdour which will also reduce noise.
If these proposals go ahead are you going to provide compensation to affected householders for the loss of value to their property and for loss of quality of life?
Edinburgh Airport must provide factual information during this consultation process. It is not appropriate for the airport to comment on certain issues until the end of the consultation period to avoid swaying public opinion and responses.