Flight Path Update via Annabelle Ewing MSP | Letter from CAA

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Plane at airport - waiting for take-off

Dalgety Bay Flight Path : Annabelle Ewing MSP reports back – see letter from CAA below:-



Reply from…

CAA Chief Executive’s Office to:

Annabelle Ewing MSP
253-257 High Street
Cowdenbeath KY4 9QF

7 August 2018

Dear Ms Ewing

Thank you for your letter of 12 July 2018 regarding Edinburgh Airport Ltd’s (EAL) airspace change proposal.

We have now received EAL’s revised airspace change proposal. During Stage 5 (Regulatory Decision) of the airspace change process, all of the information provided by the change sponsor will be scrutinised and an assessment will be completed on the operational, consultation and environmental elements of the formal proposal.

Focussing on the consultation assessment, we will assess the consultation materials and the methodology applied by EAL and review their management of correspondence received from stakeholders during the consultation periods to ensure that its contents have been properly captured and, where appropriate, responded to.

We will look closely at the key issues and concerns raised by all stakeholders and consider any revisions that may have been made to the original proposal and, in any such case, the details of any subsequent consultations undertaken by the airport. We will also take into account any representations that have been made directly to us.

The noise modelling in relation to EAL’s proposals was carried out by the CAA’s Environmental Research and Consultancy Department (ERCD), using the UK civil aircraft noise contour model ANCON, which calculates noise contours from aircraft movement, route, noise generation and sound propagation data

  • The ANCON noise model is validated against airport noise measurements wherever possible using the best available information.
  •  Ideally, we would use noise information recorded in the vicinity of Edinburgh airport, but where that is not available we use data from a comparable airport.
  •  Our understanding is that, until very recently, there were only two noise monitors located in the vicinity of the airport and that neither monitor was connected to the airport’s Noise and Track Keeping (NTK) system. It was therefore not possible to assure that recorded noise events were from aircraft and not from other sources of noise.
  • For noise modelling for Edinburgh airport (and other airports), we therefore use data from Gatwick airport which, as explained below, is representative of operations at Edinburgh and other UK airports.The noise dominant operations at Edinburgh are due

The noise dominant operations at Edinburgh are due. to:-

  • Ryanair Boeing 737-800 and
  • easyJet Airbus A319 aircraft.

These aircraft are routinely monitored operating from/to Gatwick airport and also from/to Stansted airport. To ensure safe operation, airlines develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which standardise operation from airport to airport.

We would therefore expect to see similar noise levels for the same airline/aircraft, after taking account of local flight paths and local terrain. Figures 1 to 4 in the enclosed document show Boeing 737-800 and Airbus A319 departure and arrival noise levels for Gatwick and Stansted. As you can see, there is very good agreement in measured noise levels for the same aircraft type at both Gatwick and Stansted airports and with the ANCON model, and thus we have no reason to believe that the ANCON model is not valid for use at Edinburgh airport.

Page 2 of letter

The comparison provided presents noise data for two airports in the south of the UK. It is right to acknowledge the additional distance and extra fuel required for flights from Edinburgh, particularly to destinations in western Europe.

However, for a typical European flight the bulk of the take-off mass is actually that of the aircraft itself and passengers (including baggage), and thus the additional fuel required will lead to a very small increase in take-off mass and a negligible increase in noise.

Regarding your question about military airspace, there is no dedicated military airspace in the vicinity of Edinburgh airport. Like all major airports, Edinburgh is surrounded by an area of controlled airspace, within which aircraft are directed by air traffic controllers, who will determine the safest and most efficient routing for every aircraft.

Further away from the airport, particularly to the North, the airspace is classified as uncontrolled up to a certain flight level. Uncontrolled airspace means that there are no restrictions on which aircraft can enter it, and military aircraft are just one of the many different users that can operate within uncontrolled airspace. EAL have not proposed extending the area of controlled airspace around the airport, but any such proposal would have to take account of not just use by the Ministry of Defence, but also the needs of other airspace users such as general aviation.

If EAL were to consider this in the future, it would require a separate proposal under the airspace change process.

While the content of your letter is noted and will be taken into consideration as part of our assessment, I hope that you will understand that it would not be appropriate for me to comment further at this moment in time as to do so could risk prejudicing the outcome of our regulatory assessment of EAL’s proposal. I would encourage your constituents to keep abreast of further developments by monitoring the updates and associated documentation that will be made available on our website at:


I hope this explains the current status of EAL’s proposal and the stage at which we will assess their consultation process, but please let me know if I can help further.


Yours sincerely

Richard Moriarty

Civil Aviation Authority K5, CAA House, 45-59 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6TE – Telephone 020 7453 6003

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