Dr Lee and I met with a representative of NATs management on 18 March to discuss the changes they made without consultation to routes of planes on easterly operations.
NATs stated clearly that they had the power to make the changes they made. They did so to improve safety, seeking to segregate planes flying into and out of the airport to and from the west. They also claimed that it allowed planes to climb higher sooner, which should reduce the noise from any individual plane. I explained that we had not felt the benefit, with the numbers of planes adding to perceptions of noise.
They agreed that the adverse reaction of the public had not been properly anticipated, but seemed unwilling to go back to previous procedures. I told them that what we wish to see is proper collaboration between NATs, the airport and its users, to tackle the problem of noise more positively. I repeated the agenda I had outlined to Heathrow in the meeting I held with them.