Luton Airport’s flight paths over St Albans set to be changed

Luton Airport

Luton Airport - Credit: Archant

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is understood to have approved plans to alter a flight path across St Albans district, possibly as soon as August this year.

Pilots have long been deviating from the centreline of the current 3km-wide path and flying over densely populated parts of St Albans, which in turn has prompted complaints from locals.

And campaigners have been particularly worried about the impact of Luton’s push to nearly double passenger throughput to 18 million a year – an expansion scheme approved by the airport’s owner Luton borough council despite opposition from neighbouring areas including this district.

After consultation, the airport last year asked the CAA for permission to tweak the centreline so the proposed path passes between Markyate and Flamstead, Redbourn and Hemel Hempstead, and St Albans and Harpenden.

Luton also wants planes to fly at a higher altitude of 4,000ft as opposed to 3,000ft currently flown over residential areas.

Sources have told the Herts Ad that the authority has signalled its support for the airspace change and has granted informal approval for Luton’s application.

The airport has been told it can follow steps needed to implement the change, and the new flight route should go live on August 20.

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Sabra Swinson, of St Albans-based campaign group Save Our Skies (SOS), said: “We are delighted the CAA has approved Luton Airport’s proposal. With planes having to follow a narrower swathe on westerly departures fewer should deviate from the noise preferential route and so homes in northern St Albans should be less affected by noise.“

Julian Griffiths from SOS added: “It is refreshing that St Albans, which is suffering so much from poor planning decisions, has won this small victory.”

A CAA spokesperson said: “We are currently concluding our review of Luton Airport’s proposal to adopt the RNAV1 system.

“Once this has been completed we will publish our decision letter and supporting documents.”