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London Luton Airport: Consultation into moving holding area from Herts to Cambs

image copyrightAir traffic control provider NATS
image captionPlanes bound for Luton currently share their in flight "holding" area (the brown oblongs) with Stansted and proposes to create a new one in Cambridgeshire (blue oblong)

A public consultation to help determine new arrival routes for flights into London Luton Airport has started.

The airport currently shares arrival routes and airborne holding areas with Stansted in Essex, with a key position above Royston in Hertfordshire.

The proposed new holding area would be above the A1 between Alconbury and St Neots in Cambridgeshire.

Neil Thompson, operations director at London Luton, said it was important to "hear from the wider community".

Airports are assigned holding zones, which are areas in the skies where planes can circle if they have to wait to come in to land.

Luton and Stansted currently use zones above Royston, and above Sudbury in Suffolk, at about 8,000ft.

Lee Boulton, from NATS, a firm which provides air traffic services for Luton, said: "The number of flights into Luton has increased significantly in recent years and our controllers have had to delay aircraft and manually manage each flight to ensure safety.

"This proposal is all about ensuring safety and the consultation is a great opportunity for people to give us their feedback and help shape the proposed options, so that the airspace around the airport operates more effectively."

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe proposed changes will create a new holding zone for Luton arrivals, to ensure that operations for Luton and Stansted do not have an impact on each other

The proposed changes would create a new holding area for Luton arrivals, to ensure that operations for Luton and Stansted do not have an impact on each other.

Neil Thompson, operations director at Luton, said: "Any airspace change can have impacts for a wide variety of people. Local communities may be affected by noise, airlines will see a change to the routes that they fly and local airspace users may see changes too.

"That's why over the last 18 months we've been working hard with NATS, local community representatives, airlines and others to help develop the final proposals in this consultation."

For more information check out the consultation website.

This consultation runs until 5 February 2021.

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