The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority has approved the airspace change known as London Luton Airport Arrivals following a public consultation.

The joint consultation, which ran from October 2020 to February 2021, and involved more than 2,400 respondents, was co-sponsored by London Luton Airport and UK air traffic control provider NATS. It consulted the public on two options to simplify and modernise the arrival routes for flights into the UK’s fifth busiest airport and segregate them from London Stansted Airport’s to ensure continued safety.

Feedback was incorporated into the final design submitted to the CAA earlier this year, with three notable changes to the original proposal. A modified version of ‘option one’ was progressed, with minimal changes from today’s flight paths below 5,000ft and greater dispersion of flights above 5,000ft; the location and orientation of the new holding area near the A1-A14 junction was adjusted; and the lowest standard altitude of the hold was raised by 1,000ft, reducing potential noise impacts on the residents of St Neots and Huntingdon., to the north of the airport.

Now that the airspace change has been approved, work is underway to train air traffic controllers and ensure pilots are familiar with the new routes and accompanying procedures ahead of implementation, which will take place overnight from 00:01 on February 24, 2022.

After a year of operation and for the final stage of the official airspace change process (CAP1616), both sponsors, London Luton Airport and NATS, will submit the past 12 months of real flight performance data to the CAA (from February 2022-2023) so this can be compared to the expected outcomes of the change as outlined in the proposal. The CAA will then undertake a post-implementation review.