Bom para o tráfego, mau para os spotters
Heathrow airport has begun a four-month trial that will see planes landing simultaneously on both runways as it explores how to best handle record traffic.
Heathrow normally uses one runway for landing and the other for taking off – except in an emergency – with the runways switched every afternoon to give residents a respite from the noise.
But under the pilot scheme – recommended by the Department for Transport – both runways will be used when a plane faces a ten-minute wait to land or take off or if 30 percent of all flights are more than 15 minutes late.
Airport operator BAA said the trial was designed to minimise disruption.
Residents living under Heathrow’s flight paths now face higher noise levels in the trial, which will run until February 29, 2012. A second trial, from July 1 to September 30, 2012 will coincide with the Olympics.
The average delay time for flights at Heathrow is now 12 minutes.
BAA has warned that communities living in the shadow of Heathrow’s flight paths will lose their noise respite periods during the trials.
Environmental campaign group, Hacan is concerned that the temporary measures could pave the way for BAA to permanently become a “mixed-mode” operation that would allow them to use both runways simultaneously for take-offs and landings and increase the number of flights in and out of the airport.
But BAA said the trial will not result in any increase in the number of flights at Heathrow, which remain capped at 480,000 flights a year.
It added that there could be fewer late-running flights after 22:30 (local time) as a result of the trials.