The Davies Commission (2)

MQT on 2015-07-15
Session date: 
July 15, 2015
Question By: 
Richard Tracey
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Do you agree that banning night flights would be an excellent first step in making Heathrow Airport better rather than bigger?


Answer for The Davies Commission (2)

Answer for The Davies Commission (2)

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I would welcome a ban on night flights at Heathrow - covering the officially recognised night period of 11pm-7am - as would, I am sure, the hundreds of thousands of Londoners awoken from their slumber every morning by the torrent of aircraft overhead.

That is not what is being proposed by the Airports Commission. Its condition only covers the "night quota period" - from 11:30pm to 6:00am - on average covering just 16 flights per day. These aircraft movements would simply be pushed into the 6-7am period, when most people are (still) trying to sleep, not to mention all the new aircraft movements that will be possible with the third runway after 6am.

The net result is that, under the Airports Commission proposals, despite the alleged night flights ban, there will be around one third more flights operating in the night period at Heathrow Airport, to be endured by local communities.

This is one of several conditions proposed by the Airports Commission with little or no benefit to local communities. Nor has Heathrow Airport Limited indicated its willingness to accept thisĀ  or any of the other conditions. The early morning arrivals between 4:30am and 6am are important for a number of key long-haul routes and the airlines have already stated their strong opposition to such a ban.

In short, the night flights ban will not prevent an increase in night flights for local communities following Heathrow expansion, nor is Heathrow Airport Limited likely to accept it anyway.

This is one of the many reasons I think a third runway at Heathrow is undeliverable - at least on the conditions set out by the Airports Commission.