Southampton Airport adheres to a strict agreement, which since its inception in 1990 has been designed to minimise the impact of the airport operation on the local community. This agreement forms part of our planning agreement with Eastleigh Borough Council, and is legally binding. It includes:
Night time closure
There are very strict limits on the number of scheduled night flights that we may operate during the night period. We define the night period from 23:00 to 06:00, or to 07:30 on Sunday mornings. The airport is permitted to operate 10 scheduled night flights per month, but not more than 100 in any 12 month period. However, occasionally flights operate during these times for unexpected reasons such as poor weather or as a result of en route air traffic control delays. Additionally some ambulance flights carrying patients or transporting donor organs are accepted during night hours, for emergency medical reasons.
Noise preferred routeing of aircraft
Noise preferred routes for departing aircraft and for aircraft arriving ‘visually’ (in good visibility) were introduced in 2007 following a wide scale consultation with local stakeholders, residents and councils. These routeings aim to divert aircraft away from the most densely populated areas where it is possible to do so. The airport ensures, as far as is reasonably practical, that aircraft using the airport adhere to the preferred routes. There are however occasions when the noise preferred routes cannot be followed by aircraft and examples of this are the avoidance of poor weather (thunder storms) or other air traffic in the area. Noise preferred routeings are constantly kept under review following feedback from our local communities.
Strict limits on helicopter movements
The annual number of daytime helicopter movements is restricted, and helicopter movements are banned during night hours, in order to minimise the noise for our neighbours.
Ban on noisier types of aircraft
Noisier aircraft which do not meet strict industry standards, referred to as ICAO ‘Chapter 3’, are not permitted to visit Southampton Airport. The airport was one of the first in the country to ban aircraft that do not meet this standard.
Strict limits on aircraft training movements
The number of flying training movements is restricted. Although some flying training takes place this has significantly reduced in recent years.
Engine ground running
There are strict limits on the times, the location and the number of occasions that aircraft engine ground running can take place, which is required for engine testing. No engine ground running is permitted during night hours.
In summary, this agreement is of great significance in order to minimise the impact of aircraft noise on the local community and provides governance on the way that we operate the airport in the interests of the local community. Monitoring and reporting against these regulations are undertaken at the Southampton Airport Consultative Committee.