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Heathrow proposes extra 25,000 flights per year ahead of new runway opening

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Heathrow wants to accommodate an extra 25,000 flights per year ahead of the planned opening of a new runway at the airport.

The bid to build a third runway moved a step closer last summer when the government easily won a vote on the proposal.

Heathrow wants thousands more flights to be in operation before the runway opens, which would require an easing of the current cap of 480,000 annual journeys – imposed as a condition of Terminal 5 opening.

It would mean the biggest changes to its flight paths since it opened in 1946.

The proposals have been criticised by anti-expansion group Hacan.

While vast swathes of London and the Home Counties could enjoy a predictable break from aircraft noise for the first time, as the principle of providing respite is extended, Hacan says people in parts of west London would get even less of a break.

A British Airways Boeing 747 comes in to land at Heathrow airport
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People close to the airport currently get half a day’s break from aircraft noise

Locals currently get half a day’s respite from noise when take-offs and landings switch to the opposite runway at 3pm, but Hacan claims this would be reduced to one third of a day.

Chairman John Stewart said: “A lot of west London will be badly hit by these proposals, but there will be many other communities who will be relieved at the prospect of all-day flying coming to an end.

“It amounts to a near-revolution to Heathrow’s flight paths.”

Emma Gilthorpe, executive director for expansion at Heathrow, said the proposals were crucial in ensuring the airport remained fit for the future.

She explained: “Heathrow’s aim is to design a sustainable, fair and more efficient future airport while connecting the UK to global growth.

“It is crucial that our plans maximise the benefits of expansion across the country, including for the communities closest to us, and working in partnership with our neighbours is just one way of ensuring they do so.

“We are committed to delivering expansion responsibly and we encourage everyone to have their say and take part.”

The public can have their say on the proposals until 4 March.

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