Steep A380 landings to allow 20-hr LHR ops?

Middle East carrier Emirates wants to bypass restrictions on night flights at London Heathrow by landing its A380 fleet at steeper angles, reducing noise by up to 20 per cent.

In return, the airline wants permission to fly in and out until 1am every day, restarting flights after 4am.

The UK currently imposes tight restrictions on night flying at Heathrow between 11.30pm and 6am, when on average 18 long-haul flights use the airport between 4.30 and 6am.

Emirates president Tim Clark believes that it could increase the number of daily flights from London to Dubai from five to seven using new take-off and landing methods even though the London airport is operating at nearly full capacity.

The aircraft would fly into Heathrow at a 5.5-degree angle, rather than the usual three degrees, landing a kilometre further down the runway, away from homes near the airport.

Clark told the Financial Times that new quieter aircraft  should benefit from a reduced night curfew, enabling Heathrow to increase the number of flights beyond the current annual limit of 480,000.

“If you can demonstrate that the noise profile of aircraft is that much quieter, why not look at that as a means of growing capacity at constrained hub airports?” said Clark.

The UK Government announced last month that it would consult on a new night flight regime at Heathrow later this year.

Campaigners are warning that around 500,000 people are affected by night flights and that steeper approaches would not help the problem.

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