Local campaign groups St Albans Quieter Skies (STAQs,) the Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (LADACAN) and Harpenden Sky, along with London Luton Airport (LLA), have welcomed the UK Government’s announcement for funding the modernisation of the country’s airspace.
Last week, the UK Government announced that it would provide around $7.59m (£5.5m) to airports under the airspace modernisation strategy (AMS) to upgrade the present airspace structure and route network.
The Department for Transport (DFT) stated that the UK’s airspace will be redesigned and modernised for the first time since 1950.
The need for creating more streamlined airspace emerged after witnessing growth in the numbers of routes and in demand, which resulted in noise, delays and pollution increase.
Aviation Minister Robert Courts said: “As an island nation, our airspace is vital in keeping us connected to the rest of the world. Modernising our ‘sky motorways’ could put an end to the days of circling the airport waiting for a landing slot, improving efficiency and leading to flights that are quicker, quieter and greener than ever before.”
LLA operations director Neil Thompson said: “As our roads and railways, airspace is a vital piece of infrastructure, yet it has remained largely unchanged since the start of the jet age. An overhaul is long overdue and will bring benefits for the industry and the travelling public, as well as for the environment and local communities. LLA has been at the forefront of this programme since its inception and remains committed to its future.”
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LLA is considered one of the busiest airports in the UK. It carried 5.4 million passengers in 2020.
LADACAN chair Andrew Lambourne said: “This is a potential win-win for government, industry, noise-affected communities and carbon reduction. Airspace modernisation is 30 years overdue, with aircraft still flying route patterns dating from the 1950s and 1960s. Luton Airport’s departing flights are often held low due to conflicts with flights from other airports preventing continuous climb and creating unwanted noise. This funding gives us all a chance to resolve those issues if approached in the right way.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the government has pledged around $9.66bn (£7bn) to the aviation industry.
The government has also been developing a framework for resuming safe and sustainable international travel.