Update - Runway 33 Consultation (29th September 2017)

Residents will be aware of the proposals to change the departure flight paths north of Birmingham Airport which are currently being consulted on. This consultation is the second stage of changes to Birmingham Airport (having already completed the southbound [Runway 15] flight path changes in 2016) and is the result of the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) decision to simplify all UK airport flight paths to reduce the risk of pilot error and support the implementation of a new aircraft navigation system.

As the regulator, the CAA has to be satisfied that the new flight paths conform to the new rules. The Airport has therefore drawn up proposals for the public to consider which will be reviewed by the CAA when the consultation closes.

The impact of these proposal is likely to concentrate flights over parts of Castle Bromwich because the CAA has decided that the Whitegate Flight Path must be withdrawn to alleviate airspace congestion north of Birmingham International.

Having been in close contact with a number of constituents; many through the Castle Bromwich Airport Forum - an independent resident’s campaign group, I have been asked to try to find mitigating measures to relieve the pressure on local airspace.

Following the publication of the consultation I have been in regular contact with local residents and on Tuesday I met with the Chief Operating Officer of Birmingham Airport (BAL) where I encouraged him to consider increasing the angle of ascent and descent so aircraft are higher over properties more rapidly and for longer. In addition to this, I asked the Airport to explore whether the flight paths may be amended to move them further away from habitation before aircraft exit the departure track.

I am pleased to be able to tell you that the airport are now looking into this.

Separately, I was asked by residents to enquire as to whether the Airport may reduce the number of flights landing on Runway 33 in favour Runway 15. The airport explained that the main reason for the majority of flights landing via Runway 33 is due to meteorological conditions and public safety. When a flight lands the risk of a vortex is increased. Vortices are caused when air passes over the wing of a plane at slower speeds, creating a spiralling of air over the tip of the wings. In doing this they can pose a risk to properties and members of the public as the rapid change in pressure can cause loose objects to be whipped up by the vortex at ground level. For that reason, Runway 33 is designated as the default arrivals route wherever possible - even when the wind is neutral, as there are more open spaces and fewer buildings on this route which reduces the risk of vortices damage from landing aircraft.

To that end, I would urge local residents to ask the Airport to consider measures which may provide communities with respite - including; an increased angle of take off and to reflect on whether a greater balance can be struck between the number of southbound flights that take off to the north before turning to the east or the west.

Given the amendments now being considered, both myself and the neighbouring North Warwickshire MP, Craig Tracey, have approached the airport to extend its consultation period so local residents have more time to asses them.

I will shortly be publishing my response to the consultation, which I will publicise in due course.


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Proposed Flight Paths 5.84 MB