Frustrated residents have finally been given a straight answer for the increase in noise from aircraft over their homes, and there are no plans to revert routes to their previous noise free state.
A change was made to a route by the National Air Traffic Service (NATS) in June 2014 and led to a greater concentration of aircraft, and more noise, over areas to the south-west of the airport.
However Heathrow claim 'poor communications' from privately operated NATS meant they were not aware of the change and have now belatedly apologised to residents who were repeatedly told by airport officials that there had been no changes to the routes.
The admissions ironically come at a time when the Airport is pushing for expansion.
Heathrow Chief executive John Holland-Kaye had earlier stressed the urgency of the need to expand the airport and urged the government to “get on with it’. Mr. Holland-Kaye seemingly oblivious to the residents plight, urged action as the airport saw another record month in February by handling 4.95 million passengers, an increase of 1.1% on the same month last year.
The airport insists the route change and increased noise is not related to the Future Airspace trials which took place between August and November last year.
The chief executive continued: “I am very concerned that NATS made this change without informing the airport or affected communities about its potential impact, particularly given its effects on some of the same areas to the west of the airport that were affected by the airspace trials we ran last year.
"Because of the assurances we received, we in turn told residents in good faith that no changes had occurred. That is unacceptable and I unequivocally apologise to local residents."
Mr Holland-Kaye added that NATS would now review communication processes to ensure all changes that will affect residents is shared.
Unfortunately for homeowners, NATS have also confirmed there were no plans for the route, called the Compton route, to be reverted to it's former flightpath as the change was made to increase safety and efficiency.
The change to the Compton route narrowed the amount of airspace planes were directed to, as they departed west from a 13 mile space to just 7 miles - meaning aircraft are now climbing through a narrower area of the existing airspace and as a consequence some may fly lower - though not below 4,000 feet.
The Compton route is used by 16% of departing aircraft turning west when the airport is on easterly operations - around 6% of total departures.
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