Meeting CEO of London City Airport

On Thursday 24th January 2019 I met with Kate Hoey, MP for Vauxhall, and her assistant, at the bottom of the escalator that disgorges from the DLR into London City Airport.  Our destination was City Aviation House where we were due to meet with their new CEO, Robert Sinclair.

Kate Hoey had arranged this meeting for me, after I took the plight of Plane Hell to her and described how LCY planes are concentrated overhead at 80 decibels when they are approaching the runway on easterly operations.  Mr Sinclair was kind to agree and there it was that Kate, Max, myself and, from LCY, Mr Sinclair (CEO), Mr Liam Mackay (Director of Corporate Affairs) and Miss Tessa Simpson (Environment and Technical Operations Manager) were all gathered for a discussion about this new and terrible situation.

I took along some of my slides that I use when giving talks about the overflight problem that has developed here in SE London when both LCY implemented their LAMP plan or PBN, and LHR simultaneously narrowed their paths.

The 2 airports (LHR and LCY) have had no idea until a few months ago, after residents alerted them via different sources, that their approach paths were overlapping in the worst possible way, bringing double noise to the same residents.  Homes are now very difficult for daily activities, and any use of outside amenity nigh impossible.  Windows cannot be open since normal sound levels are obliterated by the noise of not 1, but 2 flight paths overhead. 

These are some notes from the meeting. 

  • LCY claims that flight paths have not moved, however when they show the easterly approach pre-2016 and post LAMP that uses PBN navigation, there is a clear narrowing of the approach route over SE London.  This narrowing results in the dramatic increase in noise for affected residents.
  • LCY is very happy about the reduction in affected residents.  However they do not understand that the infliction of noise, where it occurs in the easterly approach route, is now unbearable in contrast to before the change, where more people were affected by less noise, making the overflight perfectly tolerable.
  • LCY’s only metric to measure peoples’ disturbance is to count noise complaints.
  • LCY do not realise that noise disturbance is made worse by the difference from ambient noise levels.  If ambient noise levels are 45 decibels then the jump to 75 decibels for LCY overflights is inhumane.
  • LCY do not even know what noise levels in SE London are, since they do not have any permanent noise monitors in operation under the new PBN concentrated route.  It is paramount that monitors are installed in order to collect statistics now, prior to any expansion, to be able to make comparisons for their own sake as well as for residents’ information.
  • LCY are supposed to be liaising with LHR on the double overflight issue, however LCY claim that LHR is holding up the discussion, postponing meetings and not providing noise data.
  • LCY did not want to discuss the fact that residents from SE London should be on the London City Airport Consultative Committee. 
  • LCY made a claim that expansion would result in less plane movements, since larger planes would carry more passengers.  This claim seems hard to believe.  Anyway, larger planes are heavier and make more noise!
  • LCY claimed that planes would become quieter and they are encouraging operators to obtain quieter fleets.  This is not good enough for the current issues of noise.
  • LCY like to rely on their new PBN route aligning with the CAP1616 process.  It is therefore made ‘OK’ for them to make increased noise over less residents, creating red-zones of unbearable environments in SE London, with planes flying at a height of 2000 feet for 22 km before landing.
  • LCY do not show any sympathy for suffering residents at all.

Thank you Ms Hoey for helping me educate London City Airport officials about the distress that people are suffering due to their new PBN easterly operations.

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