The Airport Operators Association (AOA), the trade body which represents UK airports, has responded to calls made today for a ban on night flights.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the AOA, said: “Calls to ban night flights are based on a basic misunderstanding, and lack of awareness, of why they need to take place. Every night flight is made for a good reason. Whether postal, freight or passenger services, they are essential to the UK’s connectivity at a time when we are desperate to create jobs and growth in what we all know are tough economic times. Banning such essential flights would be a retrograde step, making the UK and its regions less well connected and depriving communities, businesses and individuals of essential services.
“Night flights contribute an enormous amount to the whole of the UK in terms of jobs, growth and connectivity. Businesses and households rely on them for overnight mail delivery and the transfer of urgent parts and medical supplies. Without night flights, for example, Royal Mail would be unable to offer a first-class postal service across all parts of the UK, and the deliveries people have come to rely on today, such as goods from Amazon, would not arrive on time.
“Demand for both leisure and long-haul business travel also necessitates night flights. To enable affordable holidays for UK families, tour operators need to operate aircraft as efficiently as possible, which means offering flights during night time hours. During the summer season for instance, there is a 30% increase in demand for leisure travel, which due to airport and aircraft capacity constraints can only be provided at night. Moreover, for UK businesses to benefit from the growth opportunities presented in the Far East, night flights are required. This is necessitated by the flight times and large time zone changes between the UK and the Far East which mean airlines need to arrive early in the morning or depart late in the evening from the UK.
“The UK aviation industry understands the concerns about noise from night flights and is committed to reducing the impact of those aircraft operations. Much has already been achieved in this respect. Based on a review of current noise contour information at Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Stansted, Birmingham and Luton airports, between 1998 and 2010 the number of people inside the UK Government’s standard 57 dbA Leq noise contour has reduced by nearly 40%. This has been achieved as a result of significant development and investment by the industry in quieter aircraft and operating procedures.”