Heathrow Night Flights

MQT on 2014-02-26
Session date: 
February 26, 2014
Question By: 
Richard Tracey
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Does the Aviation Commission's decision to hide their recommendation for increasing night flights at Heathrow in an appendix, underline how much the Commission still has to learn before it publishes its final report?


Answer for Heathrow Night Flights

Answer for Heathrow Night Flights

Answered By: 
The Mayor

You are really asking about the Davies Commission and a bit of a stinger buried in the text.  There in the footnotes they have some absolutely awful thing about early morning smoothing, as they call it, at Heathrow, which is just another word for allowing planes to land between the hours of 5.00am and 5.59am when most human beings are asleep.  I think I am right in saying that something like 70% of the human race is still asleep at 6.00am.  Is that right?  Maybe it is even more than that.  Hands up, anybody.  Most Londoners are still asleep at 6.00am and an awful lot of them are still asleep at 7.00am.  It is quite amazing.  Yes, they are.  A lot of them are still asleep at 7.00am.  Some of us get up very early or barely sleep at all, but those are the habits of most people in our city.  To expect them to have to wake up every morning at 5.00am because some plane is coming over is absolutely inhumane and it is completely wrong and duplicitous to bung this in the footnotes of some interim report.  I congratulate you on disinterring it and exposing it.


Richard Tracey AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  In fact it was some really astute people in Putney that picked this up, but it is the real killer these night flights because, although the bar has always been to stop planes coming in before 6.00am, in fact quite a number do start coming in at 4.00am in the morning, so for two hours people are being disturbed.


This point in the appendix of the Commission’s interim report talks about extra flights, a doubling of the flights between 5.00am and 6.00am in the morning.  It seems to me absolutely iniquitous that this sort of ploy has been taken by the Commission when what we are relying on the whole Commission to do is to be absolutely open with a discussion of what we should do with our airport for London and where it should be and not play around with tricks like this.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes.  This is one of those things that would have very material impact on the quality of people’s lives in London.  It is buried away as a kind of footnote and afterthought.  It needs proper investigation and it needs to be resisted.


Richard Tracey AM:  Would there be any problem with night flights, may I ask you, if the London airport were to be sited on the east side of London as proposed by the Foster Partnership?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, there would be virtually no noise impacts at all.


Richard Tracey AM:  Thank you.