Night Flights

The opponents of Manston seem to have just one objection to it – that the Airport would like to remove the ban on all night flights, which would make it easier for airlines to run regular flights from Manston. They argue that the airport want to run a maximum of about 660 “night” flights a year, which includes some planes simply arriving late and needing to land after 11 pm. That makes 660 potentially “noisy” flights.

The only noise nuisance is from planes flying low over Ramsgate. That applies to any planes either departing into an east wind or arriving into a west wind. The direction depends on the wind, because most flights have to fly into a headwind. Roughly a third, say 220, of the 660 flights would fly west; another third would fly east.

But if flights depart or arrive from the west, minimal nuisance is caused, since they fly west over open country – over the agricultural area between Reculver and Minnis Bay – certainly not flying over the residential part of Herne Bay. That reduces the number of “noisy” flights to, say, 440 rather than 660.

Just as important is that another third of flights take place when there is no appreciable wind. In those cases, planes can both land and take off to the west, where negligible nuisance is caused. So that eliminates another one third (220) of the 660 potentially “noisy” flights. In fact, then, the number of “noisy” night flights comes down to more like 220 out of the proposed 660 flights per year. So the true number of such flights would be more like just one every other day. Far different from the totally misleading “up to eight a night” being quoted by opponents. Moreover, at least half of those flights would be landings, which involve a fraction of the sound output of take-offs. Modern “high-bypass” turbofan aircraft are quiet compared with older jets, and significantly quieter than the piston-engined airliners that ran a round-the-clock operation from Manston in the 1960s. At that time, we know of no complaints, or efforts to confine operations to “day time” only, to deal with this “problem”.

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