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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a set of FAQs regarding the Airspace and Future Operations public consultation.

When will this consultation be held?

This consultation will take place from 8th January – 4th March 2019.

How can I find out more about this consultation?

To find out more about the consultation, click here  to see Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s Executive Director for Expansion talking about what we’ll be showing you in January.

If you have any further questions ahead of the consultation launch, then please get in touch with communityrelations@heathrow.com

Is this your only consultation this year?

No – in June 2019 we will launch our Airport Expansion Consultation. In this consultation, we will be asking for feedback on our preferred masterplan, including the new runway and associated infrastructure for expansion. We will also be exploring options that will help us mitigate and manage the effects of the airport’s growth, and will be seeking views on this.

We will tell you more about this consultation in the spring.

Where are the consultation events?

Throughout the Airspace and Future Operations Consultation period we will be holding open consultation events where people will be able to learn about our plans, ask questions, and provide us with their feedback. Details of the dates, times and locations of consultation events near you will be published on this website – www.heathrowconsultation.com –  later in December 2018.

How does this relate to your consultation on airspace in early 2018?

In our previous public consultation (January – March 2018), which included our Stage 1 airspace consultation for expansion, we asked you about some of the key design principles or ‘rules’ that we could use for the design of future flightpaths around an expanded Heathrow.

Following your feedback from this consultation and further engagement on the airspace design principles, our chosen principles were submitted to our regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and were approved in September 2018.

In January, as part of our Stage 2 airspace consultation for expansion, we will be looking at the broad geographic areas – known as design envelopes – within which future flight paths could be positioned.

Following this consultation, the airspace design principles will be applied within the envelopes when designing and evaluating flight path options.

Is this just about your airspace for expansion?

No.  As well as designing our airspace and future operations for expansion, we will also be looking at how we make better use of our existing two runways, regardless of expansion.

This is through the introduction of Independent Parallel Approaches (IPA), an arrivals procedure which will enable us to land our arriving aircraft more efficiently on our existing two runways, until the new runway is operational.

In January, we will present the geographic areas, known as “design envelopes”, within which the IPA flight paths could be positioned.  We will ask what local factors should be taken into account when developing new flight paths within these geographically defined areas.

There will be more information on Independent Parallel Approaches when the consultation has launched in January.

Why can’t we see future flight paths for expansion?

This is the second of three stages of consultation to help us determine options for the final flight paths for an expanded Heathrow. We will have more detail to share at each stage of consultation and will also take into account your feedback along the way. For the third and final stage of consultation, we will be presenting final flight path options and full analysis of each route. We expect this consultation to be in 2022.

This phased consultation approach is designed to give you a number of opportunities to provide your views throughout the design process and help shape the options from the outset.

Who makes the decision on where the final flight paths will be?

Following the final consultation on changes to airspace for expansion, we will finalise our proposed new airspace design and submit it to the CAA who will decide whether to approve the changes.

The CAA will consider a range of factors including safety, security, operational and environmental impacts. For certain types of airspace change, where there is a national interest or a significant environmental impact the Secretary of State may decide to intervene and to make the decision instead of the CAA. This is known as a “call in”.  The Secretary of State will refer to certain criteria to determine whether or not to call in.

How can I respond?

Your feedback is very important. Once the consultation is live, we will be using a range of methods to inform people about our consultation. The consultation opens on 8th January 2019 and you will be able to submit your feedback from then. The deadline for responding to the consultation is 11.55pm on 4th March 2019. You can provide us with your comments and views in a number of ways:

Details of the freepost address and email address to send responses to will be published on 8th January once the consultation is live.

All feedback received through these channels will be considered. While all the feedback we receive will be recorded, we will be unable to respond to you individually.

If you have any queries, you can contact info@heathrowconsultation.com or call our community phone line on 0800 307 7996.

We may be required to make copies of responses to the consultation available to the Secretary of State and/or the Civil Aviation Authority. We will, however, request that personal details are not placed on the public record. Personal details will be held securely in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations 2018 and will be used solely in connection with the consultation process and the development of this Project and, except as noted above, will not be disclosed to any third parties