Go to content

Principle 1: Flight paths

There are three options for the design principle we could apply when deciding where we choose to put our flight paths in relation to where they are today. A trade-off exists between these three options so we want your views on which should be given priority.

Flight path option A

When designing airspace, we could:

A. Minimise the total number of people overflown, with routes designed to impact as few people as possible.

This option would minimise the total number of people overflown by directing flights over the areas of lowest population. This is likely to result in some routes over areas that don’t currently experience overflight from aircraft using Heathrow. In addition, aircraft will be more concentrated on a route than they are today, meaning those affected people are likely to experience more aircraft overhead than those experienced by people overflown by aircraft today.

Flight path option B

When designing airspace, we could:

B. Minimise the number of people newly overflown, keeping routes close to where they are today, where possible.

This option would minimise the number of people newly overflown by keeping routes as close to today’s flight paths as possible. This is likely to result in a concentration of aircraft over the areas overflown by aircraft using Heathrow today, meaning that these areas are likely to experience more aircraft overhead than they do currently.

Flight path option C

When designing airspace we could:

C. Share routes over a wider area, which might increase the total number of people overflown but would reduce the total number of people most affected by the routes as the noise will be shared more equally.

This option would spread the routes over a wider area to share the impact of overflight. This would result in a larger number of people being overflown, but each route would be flown less frequently than under option (a) or (b).