Flight planning takes into account many factors, including fuel consumption, weight, air speed and weather considerations, to name but a few of the thousands of calculations needed.
Flight paths are fixed, but as the airways become congested, and the population on the ground grows, the possibilities for further expansion of flight paths need to be explored more fully. The modern airline operators are coming under pressure from authorities, regulators and indeed the public, to reduce noise and pollution levels, but greater service and more flights.
Birmingham airport has announced plans to trial two alternative flight paths in preparation for an Airspace Change Proposal, required due to a proposed extension of the runway.
The airport has already submitted its preferred route, “Option 5”, to the Civil Aviation Authority, a flight path that it says covers mostly open country, avoiding Barston village. However, this option was greeted angrily by the residents of Balsall Common who were not placated by the airport’s claim that although aircraft would be closer to Balsall Street East, they would be flying higher at that point, due to the area’s distance from the airport.
Now, however, it seems that Option 6, proposed by Balsall Street East, Balsall Common residents and calling for the route to pass closer to Hampton and Barston, may become a reality. For seven months, starting April 2014, both options will undergo trials designed to test precise navigation procedures (RNAV). Although the trials do not constitute a further consultation process an airport spokesman said they would enable the impact to be objectively assessed to, “help make a more informed decision on the most appropriate option.”