Independent Arrivals Review


The Independent Review of Arrivals – commissioned by Gatwick Airport Chairman Sir Roy McNulty – was been published on 28th January and identifies measures aimed at reducing the noise impacts of arrivals traffic on local residents around Gatwick. The review summarises the conclusions of a four month consultation and technical exercise undertaken by Bo Redeborn and Graham Lake to determine whether more could be done to lessen the impact of noise on local residents and improve engagement between Gatwick and the community.

Consolidated Recommendations
Noise at source
Immediate > 12 months

Review’s Recommendation

Imm-1 That as an indication of GAL commitment to noise reduction, as a further tangible indication to local communities that the noise impact of the airport is taken seriously and to incentivise an accelerated noise modification by all airlines using A320 family aircraft at Gatwick, GAL should establish an earlier sunset date for unmodified Airbus 320 family aircraft using the airport of December 31st 2017. With an appropriate noise penalty applied for non-compliant aircraft immediately thereafter.
Imm-2 That GAL to engage with DfT, consider proposing to the European Commission the establishment of a sunset date of December 31st 2020 for the operation in Europe of Airbus 320 series aircraft without the Fuel Over Pressure Protector (FOPP) cavity vortex generator noise modification.

Land Use Planning

Imm-3 That planning authorities for communities impacted by aircraft noise from Gatwick, coordinate to conduct their own joint review of the application of land use policy in context of Gatwick aircraft noise, with the objective of identifying steps that will enable the increase of its effective use and the improvement of the aircraft noise awareness for existing and potential land users.
Imm-4 That Gatwick develop, publish and maintain with annual updates an information booklet intended for planning authorities, home buyers, estate agents and conveyancing solicitors, to provide reference information on flight routes, terminology and other aspects of the airport operation relevant to communities. NATS and the CAA should also be encouraged to participate, and to verify those elements of the content that reflect their own areas of activity.

Noise Abatement Operational Procedures

Imm-5 That as soon as possible, the altitude for commencement of CDA at Gatwick should be increased from the current 6000 feet to 7000 feet (FL070).
Imm-6 That GAL collaborates with NATS, CAA and airlines, within 12 months, to agree incremental improvements, to the application of CDA procedures at Gatwick.
Imm-7 That GAL work with NATS and CAA to raise the Gatwick CDA commencement altitude to 8000 feet when feasible.
Imm-8 That GAL propose a subsidiary CDA taxonomy which includes the commencement altitude of the procedure, e.g. CDA 6000, be established by the CAA to improve lay understanding and to better benchmark later improvements
Imm-9 That GAL considers proposing to the CAA, the establishment in airspace design criteria, of a minimum distance between arriving tracks for aircraft, to deliver for arrivals; both a meaningful dispersal and an opportunity for respite. This is likely to apply to aircraft before they have joined the final approach track, which for Gatwick will therefore be at 3000 feet or above.
Imm-10 That GAL explore with NATS the potential for aircraft to be vectored to be established on the ILS at a minimum of 8nm from touchdown outside of night hours, rather than the current 10nm. This adaptation to vectoring methodology should extend the arrival swathe 2nm closer to the airport and increase the arrivals dispersal to more closely emulate the operations prior to the 2013 change. Hence the arrival swathe would normally extend from a minimum of 8nm to 14nm, with aircraft joining on a straight in approach when traffic permits.
Imm-11 The development, publication and implementation by GAL of an operating protocol to define the occasions when a change of landing direction will be implemented at Gatwick for noise reasons, if weather, safety requirements and other conditions permit. The objective of the protocol being to achieve a more even split of arrivals, and to fragment the otherwise continuous use of one runway direction or another because of long term weather patterns. The impact should be monitored by GAL and the results regularly reviewed by the Noise Management Board (NMB).The target implementation of the protocol should be during 2016 following engagement with airlines, air traffic control and communities.

Operating efficiency

Imm-12 That the Gatwick Flight Performance Team introduce a KPI, enabling the monitoring and reporting of the number of flights delayed from planned daytime arrival, into a night movement (after 23:30 local) and that GAL initiate measures to identify and agree steps, including enhanced use of time based operations, with airlines and with the airport’s scheduling committee for implementation within 12 months, to effectively and progressively reduce unplanned night arrivals at Gatwick.
Imm-13 That within 6 months, GAL and NATS conduct a joint investigation to establish and agree whether the XMAN extended arrivals manager is an effective tool to reduce arrival holding at Gatwick and if so; to agree and publish within 9months when XMAN can be deployed for Gatwick and what results can be expected.
Imm-14 GAL and NATS should evaluate the potential efficiency benefits of an earlier implementation of advanced TBS technology (timescale for completion of evaluation within 12 months).
Imm-15 To better inform stakeholders, independent academic research should be undertaken to validate the reasons why arriving aircraft are often perceived by residents to be lower than in the past and to identify measures to establish the actual facts in a controlled analysis with community involvement.

Other Community relations

Imm-16 That GAL allocates additional manpower, as soon as possible, to strengthen the Airport’s Community engagement capability.
Imm-17 That Gatwick should establish an enhanced complaints policy and fully transparent procedure, as soon as possible, using an on-line form as the primary medium, requiring sufficient detail to allow the location (postcode) of the complainant, the date and time of day of the incident, such that the aircraft in question can be identified and established with the location, to allow empirical data to be developed and analysed so that noise mitigation action can be taken. There should be no limit to the number of complaints per household. For residents not possessing computer access, postal submissions should be accepted, but should be required to contain the basic information outlined above.


The establishment of a Noise Management Board (NMB) by summer 2016, to be operated under independent chairmanship and comprising representatives from each of the institutions able to effect change for Gatwick arrivals, as well as the chair of the Airport Consultative Committee (GATCOM), and both elected council members and residents’ representatives.
Imm-19 That Gatwick should publish not later than March 31st a description of the steps that it is intended to take in response to the arrivals report and which, if any of the recommendations it plans to pursue.
Imm-20 In the interests of improved community relations that; GAL publish not later than January 31st 2017 a report of overall progress towards delivery of the steps recommended in this report, including relevant status updates from CAA and NATS, with where appropriate the basis for any related decisions.


Aspire-21 The adoption of carefully designed routes from the approach holding fixes used for Gatwick, to the ILS and equitable dispersal of noise, and, to deliver well defined respite measures. The London Airspace Management Programme should be developed by NATS and GAL to incorporate alternative proposals, to those published in 2013, as soon as reasonably possible, for consultation, agreement and implementation
Aspire-22 That the Gatwick holding areas should be higher, or should be relocated to enable holding aircraft to dwell over water, rather than over Sussex.
Aspire-23 That the requirements specification of any system upgrade to, or replacement of, any sequencing tools must take full account of the need to integrate the AMAN at Swanwick and DMAN at Gatwick, such that they are each fully informed of, and take into account the capacity allocations of both arrival and departure functions.