Ministers considering additional Heathrow night flights

by Alister POOLE on April 10, 2012

The amount of night flights coming in and out of London’s Heathrow airport might be increased if ministers grant a plea that would allow Airbus A380 superjumbos to operate well into the small hours of any typical morning.

The current restriction on night flights will expire in 2014, with a consultation on changes to be launched this year. UAE airline Emirates, currently the aviation industry’s biggest operator of A380s with at least 20 within its fleet, believes that the aircraft can be operated throughout the 1am to 4am curfew currently in place at Heathrow.

The Gulf carrier believes that extending hours of operation is the only way that capacity can be expanded. Allowing additional night flights should certainly provoke a new wave of protests from residents that live in the areas surrounding Heathrow, which would include those within Transport Secretary Justine Greening’s constituency in Putney, west London.

The proposals from Emirates would entail a much steeper descent, which would then see the aircraft staying at a much higher altitude for longer, while also minimising noise. If approved, the airline’s plans will also see planes landing noticeably further along the runway.

Although the blueprint might have been created by experts at Emirates,  other airlines will keep a watchful eye on developments as they wish introduce A380s into their already expansive fleets. For example, Singapore Airlines has recently announced that the three-times-daily London Heathrow services it puts on are all to use A380s.

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