Over the years we’ve probably all seen newspaper articles or documentaries revelling in the details of a so-called ‘near misses’, but as someone who was an air traffic controller for 14 years I can tell you that the reality is usually very different.
Last week the Airports Commission announced its recommendation for a new runway in the south east of England, but even with a swift and decisive verdict the prospect of any new runway in the UK is still ten years away.
The ongoing debate about airport capacity isn’t just about runways, it is also about resilience to challenging weather conditions. Heathrow is the busiest two runway airport in the world, handling over 470,000 flights a year.
Air travel plays a crucial role in supporting economic growth and prosperity, particularly for an island nation like the UK. Flying is an essential part of modern life. Despite that, few of us want aircraft noise over our homes!
Most, if not all of us who have flown into London Heathrow will have experienced their aircraft being ‘held’ – circling on the outskirts of the airport – before being given clearance to land. So why does it happen – and is it necessary?
Last summer the eyes of the world were firmly fixed on Great Britain as hosts of the London 2012 Olympics. Guaranteeing the smooth arrival and departure of an additional five million visitors to the UK was of paramount importance under such an intense spotlight.