Breaking: New departure route pilot to help upgrade Scotland’s airspace

Published: 28 Apr 2015 09:300 comments

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EDINBURGH Airport says it’s trialling a new departure route in a bid to upgrade its airspace and bring it into the 21st century.

Map showing the new trial departure route.

Map showing the new trial departure route.

The airport will launch its six-month Airspace Trial on June 25 – introducing a new Standard Instrument Departure (SID) route for certain aircraft taking off from the airport – supported by air traffic control providers NATS and in line with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) guidance.

The pilot, which is the first of its kind in Scotland, has been designed to help the airport ensure capacity for the future of the country’s aviation industry.

Chief operating officer David Wilson said: “As we continue to see more passengers travel through our airport, it’s more important than ever to increase airspace capacity above Central Scotland to cater for this growth.

“At the moment, Scotland’s aircraft currently fly on a network that was designed in the 1970s. What we’re aiming to do is begin upgrading the airspace above Edinburgh Airport and bring it into the 21st century.”

The airport says introducing a new SID route will allow aircraft of a certain size to depart in one minute intervals – enabling the airport to encourage and maintain safe and sustainable growth whilst ensuring punctuality is unaffected.

According to officials, the Airspace Trial will give more modern aircraft the opportunity to take off on a new westerly departure route.

The aircraft likely to be using this route are B737s, A319, A320, A321, 787 and A330s. Edinburgh Airport’s new SID route will see aircraft take off in a south westerly direction and turn right towards the River Forth, climbing above water before flying back over land at approximately 13,000ft.

Wilson added: “We’ve taken great care to design this new departure route with the utmost consideration for our neighbours. The route passes over very few populated areas and flies over the river for the bulk of its flight path.

“We’ve actively contacted various local community councils, groups and politicians and will continue to do this regularly to ensure people understand why we’re doing this. This will also help us find out how the new SID route is impacting on them. We’ll be placing noise monitors along the flight path so we can collect data on the flights and analyse any spikes in noise.”

The airport has stressed that this is just a trial and any intention to introduce a new SID permanently would require a statutory change process and involve further public engagement and stakeholder consultation.

To ensure key groups and individuals are kept informed and engaged, Edinburgh Airport has created a dedicated microsite at sid.edinburghairport.com

As well as explaining about the project, the site features an interactive map showing the exact SID route, estimated minimum altitudes aircraft will be flying at and what level of noise may be generated.

Sandy Legget, general manager of NATS at Edinburgh, said: “A new departure route would enable sustainable and safe growth at Edinburgh Airport.

“NATS has supported the airport in preparing for this trial, ensuring the design delivers benefits for the airport and airlines and mindful of the airport’s commitment to its local communities.”

Colin Keir, MSP for Edinburgh Western and Convener of the Cross Party Group on Aviation at the Scottish Parliament, said: “I welcome this trial and hope it proves successful in upgrading and improving the flight departure routes.

“The need for this trial surely indicates the success of Edinburgh Airport as a business that is working hard to improve its services while keeping safety and sustainability to the forefront.”

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