Glasgow Airport flight paths 'not fit for purpose'

Image caption,
Airports across the country want to reduce the time planes queue in the air and on the ground

Airport bosses have said flight paths used around Glasgow since the 1960s are no longer fit for purpose.

The warning comes as a 13-week consultation plan on proposed new airspace routes is launched.

It is claimed changes are needed to cope with increased passenger numbers and airspace congestion.

Recent attempts to change Edinburgh Airport's flight paths sparked opposition from local communities concerned about noise pollution.

The Glasgow proposals form part of the UK Future Airspace Strategy (FAS) driven by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

A key element of the plan involves removing ground-based navigation aids in favour of satellite systems.

Ground navigation aids used by Glasgow Airport, which guide the aircraft to and from the airfield, will be decommissioned in 2019.

Image source, Glasgow Airport
Image caption,
In this image of Glasgow's west runway, the pink lines are the current flight paths, the yellow lines are the tracks the planes are actually flying and the blue lines are the proposed new ones
Image source, Glasgow Airport
Image caption,
Every green line represents a departing aircraft track during a two-week period during summer 2016. The runway is the short black line in the middle

Supporters say the move to satellite systems will help reduce the time planes queue in the air and on the ground and reduce overall CO2 and fuel emissions.

Mark Johnston, operations director at Glasgow Airport, said: "The flight paths used at Glasgow Airport have not changed in over 50 years and, as is the case with the wider UK airspace infrastructure, they are simply no longer fit for purpose.

"We now need to ensure the way we manage our airspace matches the advancements that have been made in aircraft technology.

"Modern aircraft are now equipped to use satellite navigation, meaning they can fly more efficient, reliable and direct routes.

"In moving to this new system, not only will we be able to improve the punctuality of flights, we will be able to reduce the amount of fuel burn from aircraft at Glasgow by over 4,000 tonnes."

Image source, MJ Richardson
Image caption,
Supporters say reduced waiting times will cut overall CO2 and fuel emissions

Airport bosses say the move will also be more eco-friendly and allow them to reduce CO2 emissions by 21% (12,910 tonnes).

Mr Johnston urged local communities to take part in the flight path consultation.

He said: "It is important to stress we will only make changes to the arrival or departure flight paths once we have considered the views of all those who respond to the airspace change consultation.

"We will host a number of drop-in sessions over the course of the coming months and all views will then be presented to our regulator, the CAA, before the necessary approval can be granted."

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