Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Heathrow night flights could rise 30 per cent

PLANS have been drawn up to add an extra 7,500 night flights a year over London once Heathrow's third runway is built.

Airport operator BAA has predicted a jump of 30 per cent once the runway is operating at full capacity. Figures suggest there will be an increase in flights between 11pm and 7am from 27,300 in 2006, to 35,000 in 2030. It means a jump from 75 flights a night in 2006, to 96 a night by 2030. It also means an extra 600 more flights a day over London.

The figures will be extra ammunition to campaigners who last week called the decision by Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon to approve the runway a "betrayal". Shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers said she would now seek urgent assurance that the cap on night flights would not be lifted.

She said: "A 30 per cent increase will have a devastating impact on residents and must be opposed."

Currently there are tough restrictions on the type and number of planes at night. Most operate between 11pm and 11.30pm and 6am and 7am.