Major airspace changes covering eastern and southern England to cut the number of low-level flights and route more aircraft over the sea have been approved by the Civil Aviation Authority.
The five changes cover an area from Stansted to the Isle of Wight, including parts of Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Kent, Sussex and Hampshire, and will be implemented from February 4.
Aircraft using London City, Stansted, Luton, Southampton, Bournemouth, Northolt and Biggin Hill airports will be affected.
The reforms will help improve capacity, minimise delays for air travellers and further enhance safety, the regulator claims.
Those flying into London City will be routed over the Thames Estuary for as long as possible to reduce low-level flight noise over Kent, Essex and east London.
Aircraft departing the Docklands airport to the south will be able to climb earlier than they do at the moment, reducing noise and CO2 emissions.
Departures from Stansted to the south will now instead use the existing easterly route from the airport during the day. Aircraft taking off will also climb more quickly, reducing overall noise and CO2 emissions.
A reduction in noise from lower level flights in the Southampton and Bournemouth area is being promised by re-routeing arrivals away from the area around Goodwood which will keep aircraft over the Solent for longer.
CAA head of airspace, air traffic management and aerodromes, Phil Roberts, said: “The changes we have approved will bring significant benefits to both air passengers and many communities currently overflown by aircraft.
“We absolutely understand that aircraft noise disturbs many people. These changes move significant numbers of flights away from populated areas and will reduce overall emissions.
“As we have done with this decision, we will continue to consider the environmental impact of all our airspace decisions and have called on the aviation industry and other decision-makers to be much more ambitious in confronting aviation’s environmental challenges.”
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