The Airspace Change Programme is about the way in which Edinburgh Airport intends to grow, ensuring that it continues to be able to support Scotland’s aspirations in a safe and effective way
As part of our Airspace Change Programme we ran two public consultations. You can read the consultation books and the initial consultation findings report below. We will be publishing our second consultation findings report in July
1. General overview of Airspace Change Programme
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:
- Phone – our free noise complaints line 0800 731 3397 is available 24/7
- Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Letter – Communications team, Capital House, Edinburgh Airport, EH12 9DN
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.
2. Responding to the consultation
How do I respond to the consultation?
You can respond to the consultation via our website www.letsgofurther.com or by writing to: Freepost LETS GO FURTHER, The Consultation Co-ordinator, Edinburgh Airport, PO Box 17473, Edinburgh, EH12 1ND.
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 want to hear from as many stakeholders as possible. A letter on the Airspace Change Programme has been delivered to more than 640,000 households within the EH, FK and KY postcodes. Both signposted our website www.letsgofurther.com, where people can formally respond to the consultation. Since the consultation launched on 6 June, we have also been in contact with national organisations, community councils, councillors and local groups in affected areas.
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.
How are you enabling marginalised and minority groups of people to engage in the consultation?
We are working closely with a number of groups and organisations including the Scottish Children’s Commissioner, Young Scot, and Disability organisations to make sure that everyone can engage and take part in our consultation
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?
We will collate and analyses all responses. A feedback report detailing the results of the consultation will be published on this website. Responses will be made available to the CAA as part of any Airspace Change Proposals submitted to them for changes covered by this proposal. This will allow the CAA to assess whether we have taken relevant information into account.
3. The proposed routes
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.
4. The Airspace Change Process
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, it will commence in early Spring 2018.
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 before April 2017. However, we’ve made every effort to ensure that this consultation is future-proofed and would meet the standards of any CAP725 change.
5. Negative impacts
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.
6. Tecnical questions
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 2016 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.
7. Second consultation
My area was not within the design envelope for the first consultation, but flight paths have been positioned over my area, why is this?
Our preferred routes for flight paths C and D fall slightly outside the design envelopes. The reason for this is that the design envelopes shown in the first consultation were based upon route design criteria which used a certain RNAV coding method. However, as a result of feedback from consultation 1, and in order to minimise noise exposure at low altitude, we explored other coding possibilities which could facilitate a tighter first turn. This has resulted in two of our preferred routes being slightly outside the swathes identified in the first consultation. At this point no decisions have been made and we are currently going through a 13 week second consultation. All feedback received will be reviewed and considered before we submit our final flight path proposal to the CAA and we would encourage all interest parties to take part in this consultation.
My town has not been included in the options matrix, does this mean it has not been included in the design considerations?
Population density mapping was used to assess the impact of operations on local communities, with population figures taken from the most recent census in 2011. It is not possible to include all towns and villages in the decision making matrix. The areas chosen were selected due to their location or proximity to the proposed flight paths. Although not all towns and villages have been included in the matrix, their populations have still been included in our route design through population density mapping.
Why was there a delay in delivering the hard copies of the consultation books?
We experienced an initial issue with printing the consultation books. As we were resolving the issue we took to opportunity to add in some additional information based on feedback we were receiving from local communities and stakeholders and to correct a small number of typographical errors.
Where there is a swathe shown for the first turn, will the noise footprint shown in the consultation document be fixed or vary?
The Lmax noise footprints shown for each route in the consultation document relate to the noise experience from one flight, and for one aircraft type, hence the noisiest that would use the route has been chosen. The footprints have been generated for the route centreline. Where the traffic will be spread across a swathe due to dispersal in the turn, the flights can be either side of the centreline, and the noise contour will move according to the position of the aircraft in the swathe.
Will there be a trial to allow us to understand the impact of the new routes?
Effectively the Airspace Change Programme approval is a provisional one, in that the post implementation review that occurs after the first 12 months of operation is validation that the impacts are as described in the ACP (and therefore consultations). If we are not following the information that we provided to the CAA in our Airspace Change submission the CAA could instruct us to withdraw or replace the routes. Trials are not intended to test the community reaction to proposed routes, the wider ACP process is deemed as the appropriate process for evaluating the benefits of new routes and it is the CAA’s job as the regulator to ensure that any proposals balance our operational requirements against community impacts. To avoid judicial review it is important that the CAA behaves impartially and ensures the correct process is followed.
Has the second consultation been extended?
We are committed to ensuring that all interested parties are able to have their say and take part in our consultation. At the request of local community groups, we have a number of community events scheduled for the final weeks in April. To allow sufficient time to attend community events, review our materials and prepare a consultation response we have decided to continue accepting consultation responses for an additional week in May. Consultation responses will now be accepted until 23:59 on Sunday 7 May 2017.