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Gatwick’s first annual progress report published today



Independent Arrivals Review

         New Noise Management Board has brought community and industry together within formalised structure for the first time

·         Significant progress made in key areas

·         Four of the five largest operators of A320 aircraft will modify their entire fleets by December 2017 to reduce the noise impact on local residents

The first annual progress report on the Independent Arrivals Review of Gatwick Airport was published today – with eleven of 23 recommendations complete and a further five nearing completion. Work on the remaining recommendations is ongoing, as is new follow-on work stemming from the original recommendations as part of a programme of continuous improvement.

The Review (here) looked at what could be done to alleviate problems local communities were reporting in relation to noise from arriving aircraft, and whether the mechanisms Gatwick uses to provide information and handle complaints were adequate.

In June 2016 Gatwick published its final action plan to implement the 23 recommendations and today’s report highlights progress on each, with a focus on three that the Review identified as priorities in terms of delivering meaningful near-term noise improvements:

·         Modifying A320s: More than half of Gatwick flights use the Airbus A320 series, but they can create a high-pitched whine on approach. A modification eliminates this noise and adapting all A320s using the airport was seen as a priority recommendation.

From January 2018, Gatwick will impose higher noise charges to any A320 aircraft that have not been modified. Several airlines accelerated their modification programmes as a result, with four of the five largest operators – accounting for around 90% of A320 movements at Gatwick – now expecting to modify their entire fleets by the end of 2017.

·         Continuous Decent Approach (CDA): Employing a continuous descent approach means aircraft use less thrust and generate less noise by descending at a continuous rate, rather than a stepped approach.


In August 2016, the altitude for CDA conformance was raised for all flights arriving at Gatwick from 6000 to 7000 feet to reduce the noise impact on local communities even further.

·         Reduction in minimum final approach joining distance: A change in Gatwick’s minimum joining point on final approach in 2013 led to increased concentration of aircraft. This recommendation aimed to increase the arrivals dispersal to more closely emulate circumstances prior to 2013.

In August 2016, a new minimum joining point was introduced which led to an average 25% reduction in the number of aircraft joining at the previously concentrated 11 nautical mile joining point, compared to the previous year. More work however is required to identify feasible steps toward ‘fair and equitable dispersal’ of aircraft in the near-term, ahead of new technology making dispersal more predictable and consistent post 2022.

In line with the Review’s recommendations, a new independent Noise Management Boardhas been established at Gatwick bringing community and industry stakeholders together for the first time within a formalised structure. The Board provides community oversight of noise issues and has so far met four times.

Gatwick Airport Deputy Chairman, Sir Roy McNulty said:

“We committed to take forward implementation of all the recommendations from the Arrivals Review and, one year on, a substantial amount of work has been undertaken and some real progress made by Gatwick, industry stakeholders and our local communities through the Noise Management Board.  There is still some way to go and we will continue to work on existing recommendations and address fresh areas of concern.


“This has been an extremely constructive process and, while challenging at times, it is only through listening and engaging in detailed discussions with both our local communities and industry experts, that we will deliver truly effective measures. The establishment of the Noise Management Board has been particularly productive in this respect and I expect that it will play a key role coordinating noise issues for many years to come.


“I am encouraged that the efforts of the past year have yielded tangible benefits and I am sure that with the continued support of all stakeholders, future work will lead to continued improvement in the airport’s noise performance.”


Nusrat Ghani, Member of Parliament for Wealden, who hosted several MP briefings on the Noise Review, said:

“With the Independent Arrivals Review and the creation of the Noise Management Board, Gatwick has shown it is now listening to the local community’s very strong and justified concerns about aircraft noise.

“There is still plenty of work to be done to deliver all the recommendations, with 13 still to be completed, but I am pleased we now have the structures in place to work better together. I will continue to hold Gatwick to account as we move forward.”



Read the report here.

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Gatwick launches schools programme to engage pupils with engineering



Picture caption (left to right): Douglas McCartney, one of the winners of the ‘If you were an Engineer, what would you do’ competition with a prototype of his invention, a Flat Pack Wind Turbine, Maisie Crook, with the Bicycle Sucker prototype to suck water up from a well using the mechanics of the bike as power, Savannagh, who designed a self-adjusting sink to automatically rise or lower dependent on the users height, and Krystyna Marshall, with her prototype Spinal Muscular Atrophy jacket enabling greater mobility and physical support.

The programme will involve 15 primary schools and five local secondary schools near to Gatwick and – as part of their continued professional development – the teachers will be offered opportunities to learn new techniques that bring engineering-related projects to life in the classroom and in the school curriculum.

Engineers from Gatwick will also visit the schools and arrange airport tours to build interest and connections between local young people and engineers in the field. 

To deliver the programme, Gatwick is partnering with Primary Engineer and Secondary Engineer – a not for profit educational organisation that aims to improve primary and secondary school pupils’ skills, awareness of engineering and potential career pathways through teacher training, whole class projects and provides a mechanism for close collaboration with pupils, educators, industry and parents.

Gatwick’s Head Engineer, Antony Yates, said:

Inspiring the next generation of engineers is vital for Gatwick Airport and thousands of other businesses up and down the country. 

“Our aim is to make engineering interesting to all, irrespective of gender or socio-economic background. Ultimately we want to make sure that we have a pipeline of young local engineering talent that can come and keep the airport, our partners and our supply chains running in the years ahead”

The UK Government says that over 200,000 new engineers are required per year to meet the demands of modern society.

To launch the programme – and inspire young people – Gatwick has joined with Facebook and Network Rail as national partners in the ‘If you were an Engineer, what would you do’ competition.  Primary Engineer runs the competition which encourages pupils to design engineering solutions to problems they have identified.

Over 49,000 children from across the UK entered the competition in 2018/19 – 50% of them female. A giant advertising hoarding called “The Wall of Fame” will showcase designs from around the UK which have been brought to life by engineers at supporting universities.

The exhibition will be on display in the South Terminal for three weeks from 13th August enabling Gatwick’s 125,000 plus daily visitors to vote for their favourite creation.

On display will be two winners from the South East including Maisie, from Rowan Preparatory School, Claygate, Surrey, who designed The Bicycle Sucker to suck water up from a well in water-deprived areas using the mechanics of the bike as power.  Isabelle from Wonersh and Shamley Green C of E Primary School in Guildford will also show her design for a The Super Hearing Set, a hearing device which allows the user to hear certain sources of sound.

Other prototypes that will be at the airport include a Flat pack wind Turbine’ to be used in refugee camps and disaster situations.  The Turbine was designed by Doulas from Edinburgh when he was 15 years old.  A prototype of a Jacket to support sufferers of Spinal Muscular Atrophy enabling greater mobility and physical support will also be on display. Krystyna from Burnely was 14 when she designed the jacket.

Dr. Susan Scurlock, MBE, founder of Primary Engineer said:

This exhibition at one of the most important travel hubs in the UK is testament to the commitment of our partner organisations who rely on a variety of engineering professionals to keep ahead of the game. Each year I am astounded by the designs by pupils, some as young as three as they realise that they can be part of a career that can literally shape the future of the world.”

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