Flying high and intelligently to cut noise

I am urging the government and aviation industry to use modern technology to save fuel, cut costs, reduce noise and improve the passenger experience.

The central point of the idea is to eliminate the stacks around busy airports, especially Heathrow near my constituency.

Today when the airport gets busy planes are asked to circulate above the London area, flying around in circles, gradually dropping height until a runway is available.  This increases the amount of  noise on the ground  substantially, increases the time when an accident or failure to the plane risks damage and death on the ground below in heavily developed and congested areas, and subjects passengers to variable delays they were not expecting.

The way to eliminate the stack is to use modern GPS, communications to inbound aircraft and computer runway planning to ensure one plane at a time arrives ready to land without joining a stack. Incoming planes can be given single accurate timings to land, and vary their speed at height over the Atlantic or the continent accordingly so they arrive on time.  Sometimes long haul flights will  be told to slowdown. They can give their passengers a precise flight landing time, and can save fuel as they make slower progress to the airport.  For shorter haul this might be done by keeping the plane on the ground at departure until its flight time coincides with runway availability, or might entail letting it take off with a lower average speed to destination.

Where an unforeseen event requires a landing by a plane without an approved slot this should usually be accommodated at a less busy airport. Obviously life threatening disasters would lead to an override of the system if it is thought using a busy runway could offer the chance of saving lives.

Removing the stack means

Greater certainty about arrival times for passengers

Less fuel use for the planes that are asked to fly slower rather than stacking

Less risk to the populations around busy airports

Less noise from the skies

I am told work is underway to give pilots more warning of landing slots and to slow planes that otherwise would have to join a stack. Lets hope they speed this work up.

 

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91 Comments

  1. margaret
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    This problem has existed for a long time at Manchester airport, however if there is a tailback in waiting to land , there is also a tailback in take off from the other side airport , which becomes congested and builds up problems in landing times there. It seems like juggling balls in the air ,however this problem was approached many years ago in Heald Green and the only real solution they found was to reduce the number of flights which isn’t a viable proposition for flight companies.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      The solutions are very simple bigger (quieter) aircraft, better air traffic control and landing slot management and more runway capacity. The problems are green crap, the politics of it all (especially round Heathrow with the Zak Goldsmith types) and dire government dithering as usual. Made worse by an almost total lack of logic, reason and understanding of science or engineering by nearly all MPs.

      • Hope
        Posted May 10, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        I recently passed (3 weeks ago) through a UK airport without anyone checking my identity against boarding pass. I could have been anyone posing as the person on the boarding pass piece of paper. I even asked at the gate did she want to see my passport, she replied no. Borders controls, security my arse.

        All this nonsense about the Iris Border, has May forgot the 1 million or so people walking into EU countries over the last year without any check? Did anyone check what they had with them or who even they were? Utter bull…. another ruse to delay or prevent the UK leaving the EU. Where are the checks at the Swiss border? No need of further delays about trade it is a deceit/ruse by May, we have to leave before the EU will discuss/agree therefore leave now, give nothing and talk about trade then. No deal is far better at this stage and a deal cannot be achieved at the status quo. Too much talk about nothing, leave was never about trade this is a narrative to bind us to remain in for as long as possible to change our minds.

        Oust May she is untrustworthy and a disaster. DUP saved the day for a free press yesterday, shame on Tory MPs like Mr Bone.

        In 2009 we were promised transparency as the best disinfectant at Westminster (Cameron), the opposite has happened to date and many false promises to clean up the cess pit and MPs now want to close down a free press two protect their corrupt activities!

        • Adam
          Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

          A nation that allows people to enter without checking degrades itself.

          It is like a person consuming whatever can fit in their mouth, ignoring consequence until internal problems develop.

        • hefner
          Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

          You were not checked when you left the UK, it clearly is a problem for whatever country you went to.
          Question is: have you been checked manually or automatically when you came back in the UK? That is the really relevant check.

          • Hope
            Posted May 12, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

            Unusually not thought through Hef. Normally very cogent points, except bitchyness to LL. Special Branch routinely check manifest of flights from N.Ireland, no border to Southern Ireland. I think we ought to know who comes and goes and where there is a security risk to the flight, place from where the person leaves or goes. IRA used o to do a round Robbin to get to their destination.

            A bit like the train service direct to the continent without border checks.

        • getahead
          Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

          Right on, Hope.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted May 10, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic

        Indeed, though… “Made worse by an almost total lack of logic, reason and understanding of science or engineering by nearly all MPs”….even this statement gives Politicians to much credit!

        …..however, are you suggesting John’s logical approach to the issue has any chance of seeing the light of day with the current crop of technically illiterate Politicians?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

          Unlikely, as I have said before JR does remarkably well on the logic, reason, economics & science front – for someone with a history background. But as you suggest it will probably not see the light of day. Being consistently right is never much of an advantage in politics, unlike gambling or business.

    • Posted May 10, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Meanwhile Nick Timothy is proposing an extension to Brexit transition to enable agreement on handling the Customs Union issue.

      No Thanks. Politicians have had far too long and already.

      It would be another step towards denying Brexit. Death by delay.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, if it relies on a government IT software project it might take about 90+ years to complete and it still would not work.

  2. alan jutson
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Afraid this one is way above my pay grade, but I can think of many reasons where there could be problems which delay aircraft before they even take off, thus complicating the original flight plan, leading to complex resheduling and the knock on effect of all aircraft which were in the air at the time.

    Clearly longer flights may have slightly easier time management adjustment, but surely there is little room for manoeuvre on short flights once in the air.

    The overall safety record of air travels excellent, the last thing we need to do is compromise that, for the sake of a few minutes of holding in a stack.

    Who would actually be in charge of the aircraft, the pilot, or a number of air traffic controllers who’s space the aircraft passes through en route.

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 5:51 am | Permalink

      Short flight are already often delayed on take off due to lack of a free landing slot. But the main problem is lack of runway space at Gatwick and Heathrow. We need a decent five runway hub airport. Any slight problem at either currently causes chaos and cancellations for 24 hours or more. People do not want to change airports in London they want a proper hub airport with some free capacity.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted May 10, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        I’m not an expert on Heathrow except that only 33% of passengers are business. If it was other way around, then i would understand case more for 5th runway.

        We must also not forget that London is our capital city. And with increased air pollution, our city could be drowned in noise for the next 20 to 30+ years until the technology is there to reduce noise pollution. Protecting London isn’t just part of patriotism, it’s also part of protecting the London tourist industry, and being an attractive city plays a role in attracting City people to go live and work there (this is important – lots of stats to prove it – one reason business people don’t want to relocate to Frankfurt is because they don’t want to work / live near there. They don’t like the place – enough).

        Reply Heathrow does not have 4 runways!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

          No we need three at Heathrow and two or three at Gatwick with a 20 min HS shuttle link. To make a 5/6 runway London Hub airport. Get on with it now. A new one at Gatwick and the Shuttle first.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted May 10, 2018 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

            From an economic POV, I’d like to see the Oxford / Cambridge Corridor developed so that it becomes a major world high tech hub – a major boost to the UK economy and diversifying our economy so we’re not so reliant on the City (important as that is). And so develop the UK’s SE airport capacity there, somewhere.

            A new 21st century Silicon Valley with a twist.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted May 10, 2018 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

            You may well be right. I don’t know much about this subject. But i think there are good (long-term) economic reasons, not just sentimental ones, for preserving London from increased air pollution.

        • libertarian
          Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

          Ed M

          As you say London is a major tourist destination

          So how are the tourists going to get there? Plane to Paris and walk the rest?

          One of the many reasons London is a major world business centre is BECAUSE of its transport links and 5 airports

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted May 10, 2018 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

            I think Gatwick is fine for tourists (tourists not in a rush, business people are in a rush). Not perfect. But nor is increased air pollution over London (which you don’t want to hear if you’re a tourist, let alone having moved to London to work in the City, or just a resident of the place, let alone our capital city as a heritage centre).

            Again, only 33% of people using Heathrow are business people.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

          ‘Heathrow does not have 4 runways!’

          – sorry, duh (me) ..

    • Peter Wood
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Your logic is correct, you slow one down, then all following on the same path must slow too. So our host needs to update himself on the plans contained in FANS and the effect of AdS-B services, coming soon. The objective of these are to make flying between 2 points more efficient (less fuel burn) and therefore more aircraft will be expected to arrive at destination more quickly. Therefore, the only answer is to build more destinations, airports.
      Here’s an idea, why not spend one of the Billion quids we expect to save each year from Brexit on developing a new London airport! Over say 5 years, we’d have a 21st century airport, (not a bit like Heathrow). Ah, the reason; looks like Mrs May wants to keep paying Danegeld to the EU….

      • alan jutson
        Posted May 10, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        Peter

        Agree with your comments about a new London Airport, plus another runway at Gatwick, but not Heathrow.

        Seems like capacity on the ground is the problem.

        Personally agreed with the Boris Island plan, saves overflying London, and would spread the load more evenly around London which seems to be the Magnet, although I am sure more capacity is required elsewhere in the UK as well.

        Problem is Governments can never reach a decision about anything, and when eventually they do, it nearly always defies common sense.

        Just look at the fiasco about Heathrow, how many years/decades.
        Same as overcrowding of/in A&E Departments
        Now we have the Brexit fiasco !

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          “Problem is Governments can never reach a decision about anything, and when eventually they do, it nearly always defies common sense.”

          Exactly when the parties all agree they are always wrong. Greencrap, the minimum wage, the millennium dome, the EU, HS2, Hinkley, the ERM, HIP Packs ….

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      “The overall safety record of air travels excellent, the last thing we need to do is compromise that, for the sake of a few minutes of holding in a stack”.

      No reason why it should increase rise, rather the reverse in fact as holding in stacks surely increases risks. You are airborne for longer so more time for something to go wrong (fires, engine failures, collisions, pilot errors or similar).

      I even wonder about the fire crews at some airports. Are they really needed there all the time the airport is actually open? Some firemen at airport have never been needed for 40 years they just train and clean their gear. Could they save rather more lives if deployed elsewhere?

    • getahead
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Alan, please , did you read the article?

  3. Epíkouros
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    The answer I would suggest is either more runways or conveniently placed airports. Something politicians have been dragging their feet on for years. As usual we can also thank the likes of environmentalists (mentalists being the operative part of that word) for demanding things that are counterproductive and cause considerable cost and inconvenience for the rest of us.

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 5:44 am | Permalink

      The greencrap religion has indeed much to answer for.

      • eeyore
        Posted May 10, 2018 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        One international flight per year consumes 12,000 kWh per passenger, or an average energy consumption of 33kWh per day. That’s like leaving a one bar fire on non-stop all day, every day.

        Flying is probably the single most wasteful, destructive and selfish thing the ordinary person can do. What difference JR’s proposals will make to this I cannot say, but probably not much.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

          Modern large efficient aircraft do circa 200 miles per person per gallon so not actually that bad really. Circa 13 KWH per gallon of fuel. But I do think people travel long distances too readily often only for very short breaks.

          200 MPG is actually rather more efficient than a cyclist. This when they energy input for the food, food packaging, food storage and preparation are all considered!

        • Epíkouros
          Posted May 11, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

          Your comment would be appropriate if it was beyond doubt that human activity was so so damaging that it should be curtailed as drastically as environmentalists insist that it should be. Sending us back to a very uncomfortable new dark age. The problem with environmentalists demands is that climate change is not beyond doubt at least how they calculate that change(the science is in no way settled, even the veracity of it is disputable). And how they demand we tackle this possibly mythical problem is undoubtedly impracticable, inefficient, costly and mostly counterproductive.

  4. Lifelogic.
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Indeed some of that is very sensible, but what is really needed is more runways and a real hub airport. At the very least we need another one each at Gatwick and Heathrow with a fast shuttle link. So we have a five runway hub. Or perhaps two new runways at Gatwick instead plus the HS shuttle.

    I often fly from Gatwick and often sit at the end of the runway waiting to take off for twenty minutes or so or circle for about the same. Any problem (weather or other) causes huge delays for the rest of that day and next even. This as they cannot catch up due to lack of runway capacity. The problem is dithering, incompetent, indecisive government as usual.

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 5:58 am | Permalink

      I think I largely agree with Allister Heath today in the Telegraph.

      Yes, it’s unfashionable to say so, but Trump was right to kill the Iran deal
      It’s time for Britain and the Europeans to stop lying to themselves: the status quo was simply not working.

      • Posted May 10, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        We all know why Trump killed the Iran deal but it is one of those subjects that cannot be discussed on here.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Why are the lefty students and lecturers at Oxford defacing & taking down the picture of Theresa May. Personally I too cannot stand the dithering, misguided, economically illiterate dope and electoral liability. But she is after all a lefty, misguided, remainer dope – just like most students and lecturers at Oxford seem to be.

      Good to see Quentin Letts keeping up the good work on the many dire people in the Lords trying to defeat the will of the people. Also sound on the current speaker. Time for a decent, honourable speaker in the commons please. Let him go to enjoy his huge pension.

  5. Bob Dixon
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    These two comments have not comprehended your very interesting suggestions. Better use of airspace means better use of runways, airports and the road and rail links.

  6. Prigger
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    If only someone would invent vertical takeoff.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      They have, but rather technically challenging and hugely expensive to do it with a jumbo jet and 400+ people!

  7. Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    It would mean longer journeys, but that would be more economical in terms of fuel – but are today’s aircraft up to being able to flying higher? There is a lot of unused sky up there.
    I would be wary of the oxygen levels, as I believe it still to come via the jet engines, for passengers, and not very clean at that.
    It’s not just GPS usage that needs to improve, plane technology needs to get a lot better in order to be more resiliant to higher flights… but overall, a worthy idea

  8. Christine
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Airport taxes killed off our regional airport that couldn’t compete with the big operators. Look into giving tax breaks to smaller local airports thereby spreading the congestion and cutting down on travel to the big airports.

  9. Adam
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Discouraging needless flights would reduce the problem’s cause. Too many people incur flights thoughtlessly to meet others, when email or video conferencing would be far more efficient.

  10. Pragmatist
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    All the Remoaners can be flown out for a new life on 29th march 2019 by a string of gliders.We should start building them now in The Flying High Ark Campaign. We must make sure they don’t have any beans to eat until out of our airspace

    • Alison
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      While Mr Gove seems to be an able minister, could I suggest he is flown out, too? I see The Sun reports that Mr Gove and others are suggesting an extended transition period in exchange for MaxFac. This is dreadful – compromise after compromise in exchange for worse than nothing, effective denial of Brexit. Your negotiations post was spot on.
      It might be worth remembering that there is a Commons debate this week (today?) about extending the vote to 16-year olds. (My somewhat PC Conservative MP is in favour) Surely that would make it extremely difficult for the Conservatives to win the next election? So we need to get Brexit through ASAP.

      • stred
        Posted May 11, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        Irish customs officers said in 2016 that they would have a system in operation which traced trade by lorry across borders within 3 years, in accordance with EU policy. That is by 2019 when the UK leaves. They also said the EU prevents them from talking to UK customs to co-ordinate the operation. The UK chief customs officer told the HoC committee that we would have a customs operation ready by then. Dr Karlsson said it takes 2 years to get a border system ready.

        So why are civil servants now saying that we will not be ready for 5 years. Did May tell them not to be ready or even make a start? Who is kidding who and are civil servants playing games? The ERG need to do some research and insist that the arrogant servants, who so far have ignored requests from MPs, turn up when asked and are made to answer.

  11. Nig l
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    I always worry when first responses to change are negative or defensive and have seen too much of that over the years, indeed we are in the middle of a massive bout of that at the moment.

    I have no knowledge of the subject apart from being a passenger and living between Gatwick and Heathrow, but surely as technology advances, it is right to look into how it can benefit us? If after investigation it cannot, put it back into the box until the next time.

    One thought, however. I guess planes are designed to fly at an optimum speed for fuel efficiency, thereful slowing down may have the opposite effect but what does it cost extra in a stack?

    An interesting topic and please keep us updated.

    P.s. I suppose you politicians failure to sort out an extra runway for the last umpteen years and foreseeable future has no bearing on this?

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    It is of course not very green to have endless stacking at airport due to insufficient runways just as it is not very green or fuel/time efficient to have cars sitting in endless jams due to insufficient road space and the governments road blocking measure that we have had to suffer for perhaps 30 years or so. Things like Bus lanes, anti-car traffic lights, speed humps, lack of car parking, environmental areas, poor one way systems, junctions designed to congest and the likes.

  13. Richard1
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Network rail, the useless & nationalised rail company, is to cut down 2m trees. The environmental destruction of railways is huge. HS2 is a test of the govts rationality – it fails on any reasonable analysis. Mrs May should show some leadership and cancel it. If she needs another reason, it would put George Osborne’s nose out of joint.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      I must disagree about trees. Network Rail ought to be encouraged, there are far too many trees close to tracks. And lets have trees cut down alongside roads too. No trees should be within 20 feet of a carriageway and overhang as is commonplace and widespread at present should be completely unacceptable.

    • David L
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      I understand that in Edwardian times, broadleaf trees wouldn’t be permitted to grow close to railway lines because of the leaf drop problems. Also, embankments would have the grass regularly trimmed….no chance of that now!

  14. WalterM
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    We certainly need more regional airports..there are still a lot of places in this country where it takes a half days camel ride to get to – on the other hand passenger footfall through the main hub airports could very easily be greatly reduced following brexit..so maybe problem solved..we should wait to see how all of this shakes out.

  15. The Prangwizard
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    First, and urgently let’s get digging the ground for additional runway capacity. And by all means improve effeciency. But no more dithering please Mrs May.

    I’m off to the US again soon but I dread the return to Heathrow; the last thing I want after 10 hours in the plane is another 15 minutes waiting for a landing slot.

    Good to hear that Network Rail is rolling out new digital signalling. Don’t know how much credit you are.due for lobbying but I imagine you are up there somewhere.

  16. Ian wragg
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Why don’t you ask Hammond. He can reduce demand by doubling air passenger duty. After all he destroyed the demand for cars by swingeing taxation. Simples

    • Adam
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Ian wragg:

      If flight demand is so high that it causes the many nuisances prompting the discussion, tax might assist a remedy.

      It would focus users’ attention on whether flight is needed, & valuable enough to take.

      Such tax can be punitive, yet it can prevent worse causes on the ground, & avoid their costs being funded by other tax sources.

  17. Ed Mahony
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Well said, Mr Redwood.

    Lots of cynical luddite thinking where people don’t believe in the power of technology. With a bit of imagination, persistence, and hard work, we can reduce all kinds of pollution – including aviation noise – whilst also growing the economy.

    We CAN have our cake and eat it: we can have economic growth whilst controlling pollution in all its forms. Why? Because human beings are amazing. Amazing. But we’re amazing ONLY because we’ve been given this amazing power by God (the Christian God) to be stewards over this amazing created world.

    (Technology, Money, Sex, Power can all be amazing things – depending on how we use them, use them wrongly and they can of course be deadly).

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Btw, Shakespeare’s The Tempest is a BRILLIANT exploration into how man tries to control nature / the created world in the wrong way. It’s not just how we screw up the world we live in, but how we screw up ourselves in the process.

      And Charles Dickens’ brilliantly exposes the dangers of obsessive materialism in A Christmas Carol (more a parable than anything else, but powerful all the same).

      But Shakespeare and Dickens are positive and say we can change our ways. And they give a beautiful vision of what happens when we do, in the case of The Tempest, we get, ‘the clouds methought did open up and show riches ready to drop upon me that when I wak’d I cried to dream again.)

      If people read and took Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Christmas Carol more seriously, our country would be very different – both past and present.

      And the other side of the coin are the gnostics (puritans and luddites) who hate sex, pleasure, technology and the material world in general. These are just as dangerous as the materialists like Prospero and Scrooge.

      For God. Queen + Country. And Family.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        I love The Tempest.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted May 10, 2018 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

          If Shakespeare had come on with just one sublime gem, the Tempest would be great. But no. He comes up with 1 … 2 …. 3. And … 4 (all in different places).

          1. Be not afeard the isle is full of noises, sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not …

          2. Of his bones are coral made. Those are pearls that were his eyes …

          3. Come onto these yellow sands, and then take hands. Curtsied when you have, and kissed. The wild waves whist …

          4. Where the bee sucks, there suck I:
          In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
          There I couch when owls do cry.
          On the bat’s back I do fly
          After summer merrily.
          Merrily, merrily shall I live now
          Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.

  18. Bob
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Scrap HS2, implement Boris’ plan for a coastal airport, and make sure it’s scalable to accommodate future needs. Runways should be long enough to obviate the need of excessive heavy braking and reverse thrust and reduce stress on airframes.

    This would reduce pollution overall and especially in London.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Boris’ proposed coastal airport is in a poor location for access. To be useful for the country, any new airport should be to the north west of London to serve not just the south east corner but the wider economy. Such an airport was proposed 50 years ago at Cublington, but the Conservative government of the time bottled the decision for electoral expediency. We are still paying the price.

  19. Old pilot
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Pilots can make accurate arrival slots if given the information. We used to consistantly land seconds after the morning noise curfew when I retired 15 years ago. It helped efficient traffic flow at other times if ATC gave you a target time for the final fix.

    We ban noisy planes, so why do we accept avoidable holding?

  20. agricola
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    The relentless spread of civil commercial aviation affects many more than the members of your constituency. One look at an aviation chart will show you how much airspace they gobble up.

    A just in time arrival and departure schedule with much steeper angles of approach to airports would reduce the airspace needed below 10,000 feet ASL. The general aviation and gliding fraternity would I think welcome such a move. Recruit some well informed opinion. Royal Air Force Transport Command must have a wealth of experience of steep approaches that government could benefit from.

  21. a-tracy
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    We’re going to have fewer flights anyway aren’t we as the Spanish public keeps telling us we’re not wanted there and the Spanish government tax us out of Spain. Protesting at holidaymakers just wanting a break from work will result in people not booking next year. Such a shame the UK can’t guarantee just two months good weather the requirement for flights would halve.

    Are there specific days of the week, times of the day that are creating the regular problems? It’s a fabulous hub and spoke system that probably needs a serious IT upgrade and some detailed analysis. If small businesses can do this logistical planning I’m sure they can with their resources. If you slow down planes on arrival it will have a backlog situation like you have on motorways where back down the line congestion occurs and problems start to happen with safety. Connecting flights would need prioritising, queuing and waiting-in-turn is a very British institution I’m not sure foreign airlines would be happy to follow the rules a contraflow in the air just doesn’t bear thinking about.

    These cruise companies need to find alternative venues to dock too or their business will start to tail off.

  22. BOF
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    All very good ideas for noise reduction and efficiency. But it does not tackle the unwillingness to increase airport capacity and there is a desperate need for runway capacity to increase at Heathrow, Gatwick and Birmingham. Birmingham needs a major upgrade as it is currently like going through a cattle market, as one of the cattle!

    Without more runway capacity, all these excellent measures will fall down as many planes will either be late landing or late arriving or late taking off. None of these outcomes is conducive to passenger satisfaction, which should be foremost for every operator.

  23. Rien Huizer
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I remember that in the 1970s, when I flew at least 40 times a year from the continent to Heathrow (and sometimes Gatwick) this problem already existed. Sometines fog, sometimes a runway incident etc. Stansted and London City Airport offered relief in the later years but it appears that Hethrow has simply absorbed all the technology gains (better control, quieter aircraft, etc) by adding traffic. No doubt further improvements will not benefit those foolish enough to live near airports, but the airports themselves.

  24. Mark B
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Mr.Redwood MP sir, stop being such a NIMBY 🙂

    As I right this I am traveling on a bus from a short meeting. Across the PA we were just told that the bus driver has been instructed to wait to even out the service. Someone somewhere knows all this and can communicate and organise it. So I see no reason why the same can be done here.

    But the problem is, once again, not being addressed just some patches. The problem being a bottleneck at Heathrow. The solution is not necessarily a new runway, although that would be desirable, but more focus on other airports and / or a new airport altogether.

    Trouble is, we are wasting valuable resources on HS2 and Hinkleypoint.

  25. Shieldsman
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    It is a political problem, always has been and always will be. We have too many incompetent MP’s who keep saying – ‘not in my backyard’.
    We spend millions of pounds and waste time on Public enquiries, then ignore the conclusions. The known need is for more runways at our existing Airports now, yet the current PM cannot bring herself to implement the Davies report and kicks the decision down the road once again. Just like Maplin Sands Johnson’s Thames Estuary airport was an impractical siting for many, many reasons. We had the opportunity years ago to build a new Airport on a green fields site (ex RAF airfield) but our politicians bungled it. The French probably only got Charles de Gaulle because their Government were having a few days off.
    LAP needs two runways to the South West with taxiways over the M25. Expensive, but think of the money lack of capacity is losing. Its too late in time for a new airport. Gatwick also needs a second runway, even third World Countries get the money to two runway airports.

    In fine weather, barring technical problems Heathrow air traffic control can run at maximum capacity. Poor weather requires greater spacing and the Airline scheduling combine to make aircraft holding a necessity. Arrival and departure delays are a function of runway capacity shortage.

  26. walter
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    There will be no room left for any more airports. Everywhere has to have houses built on it to accommodate Asia and Africa.

  27. Yossarion
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    If they actually navigated rather than flying a GPS course to steer they would allow for drift and windage.

  28. miami.mode
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    With the current mooted problems with the EU Galileo GPS system we should be developing our own system. A projected cost between £3bn and £5bn spread over a few years is small beer to our government and it would be a crying shame if we lost the technology we have acquired over the years.

  29. ale bro
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    all caused by the failure of successive governments to have a transport policy.

    the question is what is a reasonable length of time to delay a decision? 6 months? 6 years? 30 years? i guess we’ll get the answer to that when a new runway gets planning permission.

  30. backofanenvelope
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I suggest 2nd runways at Stanstead and Gatwick; upgrade Luton, Southend, Manston and Northolt. Link the lot to Heathrow by an overhead rail link. Something hi-speed that looks like the 21st century, that is, not like the George Stephenson HS2.

  31. Stred
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Long distance flights follow each other in a line across the Atlantic. Planes going to the EU would have to overtake the British ones waiting for a landing in overcrowded airports. Flying around London looking at the landmarks is the best part of the flight. I also like watching the planes and looking them up on flight radar websites.

  32. Know-Dice
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Off topic 🙁

    I see that the EU is trying to cut the UK out of the encrypted side of Galileo GNSS satellite positioning system.

    And talk about “cake and eat it” they are intending not to refund the £1.2 billion we have currently invested in the system and wish to charge us for finding a replacement for the UK.

    Let’s see how Gregg Clarke handles this…and the EU can whistle for it if they expect the UK to offer security protection for Europe…

  33. Shieldsman
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I have to disagree with Mr. Redwood’s suggestions – “The way to eliminate the stack is to use modern GPS, communications to inbound aircraft and computer runway planning to ensure one plane at a time arrives ready to land without joining a stack. Incoming planes can be given single accurate timings to land, and vary their speed at height over the Atlantic or the continent accordingly so they arrive on time.”

    Since at least 1980 probably earlier, all aircraft flying on the North Atlantic track structure have been equipped with INS or GPS. All aircraft assigned to a particular track are not for the same destination, so when they depart North America they will probably have different arrival forecasts which can change en route. Modern airliners flying at high altitude do not have the ability to vary their speed greatly. Asking one aircraft to slow down means the following aircraft have to do the same otherwise they would catch up and the horizontal separation would not be sufficient.

    You cannot get a quart into a pint pot, any time of day the traffic flow exceeds the runway capacity their will be holding delays, despite the best scheduling.

    • hefner
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      A look at a flight radar website shows the hundreds of planes flying over Europe, a large fraction of these going to or coming from one of the London airports. In good weather conditions, specially early in the morning there is one landing every 90 seconds. And just before landing, all (commercial) planes fly at roughly the same height and speed within a corridor essentially defined by meteorological conditions.

      It is certainly a good thing to check whether the current procedures are optimum. However I am not sure there is that much wriggle room, without having a third runway at LHR, and/or a second at LGW and/or other London airports.

  34. The Russians Did It
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for pushing this John. Cutting/eliminating the Heathrow stack could (with a bit of Government encouragement) also benefit people living around Gatwick since flights leaving/arriving there are often kept artificially low to allow them to fly under the Heathrow stack.

  35. Loud Enough
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Off Topic
    BBC Daily Politics with guests Lord Hennessy and Jacob Rees-Mogg.
    Of course one realises they were speaking in a silo as it were of specifics. They touchingly referred to many Peers who “Had spent their entire lives” working for the realisation of our membership in the EU.
    Yet they chose to ignore 17.4 million humans voting to Leave. But in our democracy it actually means ALL our people expressed their collective desire to Leave including those who did not vote at all. WE THE PEOPLE are ONE.
    I guess King Charles I , spoke touchingly in his day.
    We The People have had ONLY one of two real votes for the past few thousand years. We have spent our… entire lives… over generations yet they Lord Effingly Well won’t honour our wishes!!!!

    • Andy
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Not true.

      The 17.4m do not – and never will – speak for me. Indeed, the 17.4m disagree completely with each other so they don’t even speak for themselves.

      I notice Leave bigwig Daniel Hannan today, again, arguing for an EFTA style deal. Like Switzerland he says.

      As a Remainer I think the Swiss deal is immeasurably worse than what we have. But it immeasurably better than unelected Jacob Rees-Mogg Kamakazi Brexit. He, of course, can afford to be blasé with other people’s money.

      So there you go. Leading Leaver Daniel Hannan calls for an EFTA Swiss style deal. Who’s up for it Brexiteers?

      • Edward2
        Posted May 11, 2018 at 6:56 am | Permalink

        You ignore the huge differences among remainers.
        You are not all as one in your vision of the future of the EU.
        Just as you can quote one person exploring an alternative view of leaving the EU so can I with remainers.

        PS JRM is not unelected he is an MP.
        Unlike Adonis.

  36. Edward2
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    All UK airports need their capacity expanding.
    UK politicians seem wedded a permanent policy of easy immigration and open borders.
    We have had the biggest increase in the population of the UK since 2000 in our history.
    So we need rapid expansion in all our airports.
    The delay in a decision on Heathrow is a disgrace.

  37. Andy
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Brexit solves this.

    17.4m Britons apparently voted to take all 65m of us out to the Open Skies agreements – which means we have legal basis to fly anywhere beyond Aberdeen.

    Still Chris Grayling is in charge of sorting it out. Perhaps he can use the skills he has demonstrated in trying to fix the railways.

    Oh.

    • Ron Olden
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Remarks like this, is, why the Remain Campaign, was, by the end, seen as laughing stock, and why no-one nowadays believes a word anyone associated with it, says.

      When we Leave the EU, flying beyond Aberdeen will not be dependent on the ‘Open Skies agreement’. The life of the world doesn’t revolve around the EU, nor around any of its’ ‘agreements’, which any normal country, let alone a global airline hub like the UK, can easily obtain for itself.

      Which is precisely why the ‘Open Skies agreement’ didn’t figure at all in the decision making process of the 17.4 Million people who voted to Leave the EU, nor for that matter, (save for some completely insane ones), the millions who voted to Remain.

      British planes flew all over the world before the ‘Open Skies agreement’ was ever though of, and before the EU came into existence. And will continue to do so after we’ve left the EU.

      I would be happy to bet anyone £10,000 that flights in and out of the UK will be operating as normal after we Leave the UK. And I’ll also pay the solicitors fees in advance for a trustee to hold both sides’ money.

      I’ve offered this bet on a number of things, on a number of occasions, in relation to things Remainers have been pontificating about, and curiously, not one of them, so far has taken me up.

      Talk, it appears, is cheap.

      • Andy
        Posted May 11, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        You hit the nail on the head.

        Open Skies didn’t figure in the thinking of 17.4m. Not did medicines. Or nuclear regulation. Or farming. Or Erasmus. Or the environment. Or customs.

        What figured in most of those 17.4m heads was an irrational dislike of foreigners and fish.

        You are now desperately trying – and failing – to pretend you all voted for stuff you’d never heard of. Presumably because the reality that you voted for xenophobia and haddock is uncomfortable.

        GOOD. You all need to feel uncomfortable.

        Incidentally – I notice you all still ranting about the EU, Remoaners, the BBC, the House of Lords, the RAC and anyone else you can think of. And yet there are still NO answers from any of you. None.

        Customs, aviation, Medicines, citizens rights – you now have to figure this stuff out Brexiteers. You are doing an embarrassingly lousy job so far

        PS: saying we used to manage fine in the 1960s is not a policy. Children used to manage fine down the mines but the world moved on regardless.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 11, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

          Andy
          Read again the Leaflet sent to every home.
          And remind yourself what the PM repeatedly said leaving the EU meant.
          The items you raise are all managed satisfactorily in the many major nations who are not in the EU

    • The Green Pimpernel
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Andy your method of “democracy” means no government would have the electoral power to do anything at all even things you would like. ..as you count into the Opposition, non-voters and the Opposition itself. You talk like a complete Green.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 10, 2018 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      Odd that all non EU nations currently fly in and out of the UK and Europe.
      How does that happen?

      • Andy
        Posted May 10, 2018 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        They have agreeements to fly to the EU. You’ve taken us out of our agreement with no proper plans for a replacement.

        Not that most of you want a replacement anyway because you keep telling us Brexit must mean no deals with the EU and we must leave everything.

        By this you are effectively calling for all flights to be grounded and for airline workers to be sacked.

        Still, Mr Trump will rescue you. His team has offered a US/UK aviation deal. It’s worse than the we have now as EU members but at least it’s OUR deal.

        But you knew all this anyway didn’t you – because you knew what you were voting for. Right?

        • Edward2
          Posted May 11, 2018 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          This is one of most ridiculous project fear lies and it is repeated regularly yet has no basis in fact.
          Planes will continue to fly all over the world as they do today and did so for decades before the EU came up with it’s agreement.
          Or will your beloved EU try to shoot down aircraft approaching the UK?

          • Andy
            Posted May 11, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

            Planes need a legal basis on which to fly. You have voted to take us out of that legal agreement.

            What are you putting in its place?

            It is an easy question – which, despite your ranting, none of your can answer.

            Reply Agreements are being sorted in time for our exit. Lufthansa wants access to Heathrow!

          • Edward2
            Posted May 11, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

            I notice Andy you haven’t taken up Ron Olden on his offer.

  38. Grim Reaper
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Flying is, as I tell everyone who survives, the safest method of transport.

  39. Ron Olden
    Posted May 10, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    I used to live in Hayes, and some days there were planes in the queue as far as the eye could see.

    There’s greater truth however, underlying to John Redwood’s remarks, which go beyond planes.

    It’s a fact of these all these environmental issues will, eventually be addressed, and largely solved, by technology, and not by all these bans and restrictions modern ‘Greens’ go in for.

    Most of their mindset is nothing to do with the environment at all. It’s all to do with social control and undermining freedom and free enterprise.

    One irony I discovered some time ago, is that a study had revealed that the carbon footprint of the average Green Party activist in the South of England was FAR higher than for the average, for Tory and Labour voters across the rest of the UK.

    But that still doesn’t stop them jetting off endlessly, to ‘climate change conferences’ and going on long distance flights for their ‘back packing’ holidays, where, ironically, they compare their smug anti social attitudes, with other ‘environmentists’ who’ve done the same.

    Al Gore must have clocked up more Carbon Emissions than all the inhabitants of the small village where I live in Wales, put together.

    Yet he and his jet setting ilk complain about my small 50mpg diesel van, which I drive on average about 40 miles a week, and keep my bicycle in.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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