The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has approved an airspace change at London Luton Airport, enabling it to simplify its arrival routes for flights into the airport and separate them from London Stansted Airport.
This change follows a public consultation that ran from October 2020 to February 2021 and received feedback from more than 2,400 respondents. The joint consultation, co-sponsored by London Luton Airport and air traffic control provider NATS, covered options to ensure continued safety.
Three notable changes to the original proposal occurred as a result of the feedback. The first of these was a modified version of the original option, including minimal changes from today’s flight paths below 5,000ft (1,524m), with greater dispersion of flights above 5,000ft. The second change involved an adjustment to the location and orientation of the new holding area near the A1-A14 road junction. Finally, the lowest standard altitude of the hold was raised by 1,000ft (305m), reducing potential noise impacts on the residents of St Neots and Huntingdon.
These changes will be implemented overnight from midnight on February 24, 2022. With the approval of the airspace change, air traffic controller training has begun to ensure pilots are familiar with the new routes and accompanying procedures ahead of implementation. For the final stage of the official airspace change process (CAP1616), after a year of operation, both London Luton Airport and NATS will submit the past 12 months of real flight performance data to the CAA (from February 2022-2023) so this can be compared with the expected outcomes of the change as outlined in the proposal. The CAA will then undertake a post-implementation review.
These changes come in the context of the airport’s work on its £225m (US$298m) light rail system, which is nearly complete and will link the airport with Luton Airport Parkway station. The project is being delivered by the airport owner, LLAL, which is owned by Luton Council.
LLAL is also applying to raise its passenger cap by one million, to 19 million, but plans to do so without any physical changes or construction at the airport.