Aircraft coming in to land at a steeper angle could reduce noise disruption for those living under flight paths at Heathrow by as much as 15-20%, claims Emirates.
The concept, promoted by the airline for its fleet of A380 aircraft, could bypass current regulations on the capacity of night-time flights presently allowed. Currently, aircraft descend into Heathrow at an angle of three degrees, meaning that they are flying at around 1,600ft above the suburb of Richmond. However, if the angle were increased to 5.5 degrees, the aircraft would be flying over the suburb at nearly double the height, which would significantly reduce noise levels.
At present, anything over the three degree standard sanctioned by global aviation rule-setting body ICAO is only permitted for obstacle clearance.
The concept is being seriously considered by UK air traffic control, NATS. Chief executive of NATS, Richard Deakin, spoke about the possibility to the UK Transport Select Committee today: “I don’t believe there are any A380s anywhere that fly those steep angles into airports thresholds. We would need to do some technical modelling around the feasibility of that. Clearly more work needs to be done by ourselves and with the CAA, the airport and the airlines,” he said.
If adopted, the reduction in noise would still not apply to those who live much closer to the airport.