We will carry out three stages of consultation on the changes that we need to make to the airpsace above London and the surrounding areas:
Consultation 1: Design Principles
This consultation is the first stage and focuses on ‘design principles’. In this consultation we are seeking feedback on a key set of principles that could be used to guide the design and structure of Heathrow’s future airspace. These’design principles’ will be included in a set of rules we will use to help us to redesign our airspace.
Consultation 2: Design envelopes
In the second consultation, we will present the geographic areas within which flight paths could be positioned. We will ask what local factors should be taken into account when developing new flight paths within these geographically defined areas known as ‘design envelopes’.
Consultation 3: Flight path options
The feedback we receive will help to inform the design of ‘flight path options’ (i.e. the actual routes aircraft will fly), which will be presented in a third and final stage of consultation.
Assessing potential design options
To be consistent with Government policy, we will assess each of the potential design options using an options appraisal model that will enable us to compare the relative benefits, both positive and negative, of each option.
After the final consultation, we will finalise our proposed new airspace design and submit it to the CAA who will decide whether to approve the changes.
The CAA will consider a range of factors including safety, security, operational and environmental impacts. For certain types of airspace change, the Secretary of State may decide to intervene and to make a decision instead of the CAA. This is known as a “call in”.
We recognise that this is a lengthy process, which means there will be a period of uncertainty for communities living around Heathrow. However, the phased consultation approach will enable you to provide your views throughout the design process, and will allow us the opportunity to feedback on consultation responses and how they have influenced our emerging airspace design.