Call to ban Gatwick Airport night flights

Campaign groups are urging Gatwick Airport to stop nighttime flights.

The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) and Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions (CAGNE) are among the groups calling for night flights to be banned.

The groups have written to the Aviation Minister in advance of a consultation on the future of night flights expected to be published by the Department for Transport shortly.

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Peter Barclay, chairman of GACC said: “Gatwick has more night flights than any other designated airport in the UK. Over 50 each night in the summer. They are hugely unpopular around Gatwick and across the country, and it is beyond dispute that they damage people’s health.

Gatwick airport (north terminal) Covid-19 protective easures with guidance for staff and passengers to protect each other as it prepares to reopen its north terminal to accommodate more flights SUS-200906-140616001

“People’s health and welfare should be put ahead of cheap holidays for a small section of society and airline profits.”

Every five years the Department for Transport consults on the night flight regimes at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, he added. This forthcoming consultation, though, will cover all airports.

A spokesman for CAGNE said: “Gatwick has one of the highest night flight figures which causes a lot of anger with communities as they are mostly for leisure travel and so CAGNE has joined other communities in calling for a night ban.”

In response a Gatwick Airport spokeswoman said: “We acknowledge that the issue of night time flying is a matter of concern for local communities and a balance needs to be struck between the economic benefits of night time flying and the needs of local communities.”

The airport operates within the current restrictions on night flying at Gatwick which are set by the Department for Transport, she added.

The spokeswoman said: “We work hard with our airline partners to maintain on time performance to prevent flights from operating at night due to delays and have also put in place a scheme of charges to incentivise our airlines [to] operate the quietest fleet possible during the sensitive night period.

“While many people benefit from having Gatwick on their doorstep, we understand that aircraft noise remains an issue for some residents.”

Gatwick said it monitors the noise impacts of aircraft departing and arriving at Gatwick through a fleet of 23 noise monitors and has a Noise and Track Keeping system that provides residents with bespoke information on aircraft noise tailored to their postcode.

The spokeswoman added: “In addition, we continue to support the work of the Noise Management Board, an independent body which brings together local community representatives, including CAGNE, with industry partners to reduce aircraft noise.

“More broadly, the aircraft flown from Gatwick are increasingly modern with the newer types being introduced by our airlines up to 50 per cent quieter than ones they replace, which has helped steadily reduce Gatwick’s noise footprint over recent years. Over the summer, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published the 2019 noise exposure contour analysis for Gatwick. This showed that the airport’s noise footprint reduced in 2019, for the third successive year, despite it being the airport’s busiest passenger year on record.”