Go to content

Airspace design principles

Before we can begin to designing our future airspace for an expanded Heathrow, we need to develop a set of principles or ‘rules’ to use when designing the new flight paths.

Our future airspace will need to accommodate the appropriate number of arriving and departing aircraft, safely and efficiently. We will also need to demonstrate that we have met all requirements set out in the airports National Policy Statement (ANPS). The draft ANPS includes requirements such as:

  • Avoid significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life from noise;
  • Mitigate and minimise adverse impacts on health and quality of life from noise; and
  • Where possible contribute to improvements to health and quality of life.

However, beyond these core requirements, we expect to have a number of options and trade-offs to choose between when designing future flight paths.

VIDEO | Airspace principles explained

Before we can begin to designing our future airspace for an expanded Heathrow, we need to develop a set of principles or ‘rules’ to use when designing the new flight paths.

What are we seeking feedback on?

This consultation is therefore seeking feedback on a set of key principles we have developed. We believe these principles address the issues highlighted most frequently by local communities and their representatives, and will enable us to develop airspace options that deliver an efficient and considerate expanded Heathrow.

Below are six key principles that we could use to redesign our airspace. We have provided some examples of how different principles might affect the developing design and for some of these principles we are aswking you to tell us your preferred option.

The prioritisation of one of these principles will compromise the ability to use another. For example, designing routes that reduce the total number of people overflown by aircraft might mean more concentrated flight paths over less populated areas, increasing the frequency of overflight for those affected but impacting fewer people.

On the other hand, if we adopt a principle to share routes over a wider areas, this is likely to increase the total number of people overflown by aircraft, but reduce the number of people most affected as the noise will be shared more equally. These options are explored in Principle 1.

We are seeking your views on how the options put forward within these principles should be prioritised. In principles 5 and 6 we propose on principle (rather than options)  and we seek your feedback on these.

We will use your feedback to shape the design principles we use to guide our future airspace design.

The 6 key principles being consulted on

Click on any of the principles below for more information on each.

Airspace Principles Consultation Document

To view the consultation booklet for our airspace principles consultation please use the link below.
Download (PDF - 1mb)