Luton arrival route changes plan moves into next phase

Both the airport and NATS are reviewing responses from a four month public consultation

A four-month public consultation – which discussed proposed changes to London Luton Airport’s (LLA) arrival routes – has ended after running from last October until February 5.

Over a period of just over 15 weeks, more than 2,400 responses were gathered from MPs, councils, airlines, flying clubs, military personnel, community groups and the general public. These responses are now being reviewed and implemented into the final proposal that will be submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

London Luton Airport
Photo London Luton Airport

The joint venture – sponsored by LLA and air traffic control provider NATS – reviewed two options to help simplify arrival routes into Luton, whilst segregating them from nearby Stansted’s. A virtual exhibition is still available to view despite the closure of the consultation, which outlines all the proposed plans.

“It’s great to see so many people have engaged with the virtual exhibition and responded to the consultation,” said Neil Thompson, operations director at LLA. “We look forward to reviewing everyone’s comments and, along with NATS, finalising a design that prioritises safety as well as balancing the needs of the community and the environment now and into the future.”

Both parties will publish an analysis and the finalised plan once all responses have been examined. This will then be converted into a formal Airspace Change Proposal (ACP) to the CAA, which is expected to take place in June of this year.

The CAA has the final say on whether the changes should be adopted. If successful, the new design could be introduced around February 2022 at the earliest.

Due to COVID-19, the consultation’s online presence has increased to still enable engagement with stakeholders. Over 11,000 people viewed the virtual exhibition during the four-month period and there were ten live interactive webinars, allowing the public to ask questions directly to experts.

Members of the community who were not online could also be involved in the consultation as advertisements were placed in newspapers, magazines and leaflets which detailed the proposal. The adverts also outlined how to access paper consultation material and how to send a postal response.