ABTA has responded to the Government’s consultation on night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted emphasising that any system must strike a balance between the economic benefits of meeting demand and the impact of night flights on local communities and the environment.
ABTA states that it is essential for airlines to work closely with local communities and continue to invest in newer, quieter aircraft and to further improve their environmental performance. But the contribution of night flying to the economy, particularly the local area must be recognised. At Heathrow in 2011, night flights contributed £543m to the economy directly, supporting 6,800 jobs and generating £102m in tax revenue¹.
Luke Pollard, ABTA head of public affairs said: “Night flights can be an emotive subject because noise in particular can be particularly disruptive for local communities. A great deal of progress has been made in reducing noise which is especially important at night or early in the morning, and we encourage airports, airlines, the Government and local communities to continue to make further improvements.
Airlines should be encouraged to invest in quieter, more efficient aircraft rather than punitively restricting the level of night flights particularly at the capacity- constrained airports around London, which would only result in higher prices for consumers and more delayed or cancelled flights.
Night flights contribute significantly to the economy and enable thousands of holidaymakers and business traveller to fly each year. ABTA believes a balance needs to be struck between the large economic contribution of these flights and the impacts they have on local communities. The aviation industry should also continue to take steps to manage their environmental impacts to ensure that solutions can be found that work for the industry and local communities alike.“