Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Near misses between London City Airport planes concerns MP

It came to FTF's attention some time ago the amount of 'near misses' (The Civil Aviation Authority call these proximity reports) of aircraft leaving and arriving from London City Airport. This is something that Sir Robin Wales, FC London City Airport Chief Executive Richard Gooding and Hill & Knowlton have clearly avoided addressing when 'pushing through' their quest for more flights over the most densely occupied part of England: despite it being an issue which is of interest and importance to the general public on health and safety grounds.

Never mind the public, just think of the profits to be made!!

Thankfully, we still have freedom of information, freedom of speech, and some of the press excercise their freedom to report, unlike some of the other publications who only 'advertise' for the airport whilst denying residents the facts and the risks that are overhead. So read on for an excellent piece of factual and informative reporting from the Wanstead and Woodford Guardian. We of course commend Harry Cohen MP for speaking of his concern on such important safety issues in the interest of his constituents - it's more than Stephen Timms has done for his! Hoorah, a good example of local reporting in the interests of the community, and at it's very best! It's just a shame Newham residents, are not as blessed.

10:41am Tuesday 30th December 2008

By Daniel Binns »

THERE have been nine ‘near misses’ between planes flying to and from London City Airport in the skies above north east London over the past five years, the Guardian can reveal.
In one case, two aircraft came within half a mile of each other during one misunderstanding, while in another incident a pilot “became distracted” and soared beyond his plane’s authorised height.

Harry Cohen, MP for Leyton & Wanstead, is so concerned about the number of near misses that he plans to contact the Secretary of State for Transport Geoff Hoon.
He said: "There are so many planes flying over my constituency it is amazing that there hasn't been a crash.

"I think the Government needs to look at the expansion of airports and the affect it has on the environment."

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told the Guardian there was “no risk” of a collision in any of the cases, which all happened within 50 nautical miles of the airport at heights of 3,000ft or lower.

But anti-airport expansion campaigners expressed scepticism at the claims.
Anne-Marie Griffin, of the Fight the Flights Group, said: “It’s a matter of how much you believe what a Government agency tells you. If there was a risk of a crash, they clearly won’t say anything which might cause panic. “Any increase in the number of flights will definitely increase the risk of a crash. “It doesn’t matter even if there was just one possibility of a crash in this timespan, the effect of a plane coming down over London would be phenomenal.”

The worries come as proposals are currently being considered to change the flightpath of City Airport planes, which could see an extra 83 planes flying over the skies of Wanstead, Leyton and Leytonstone at less than 3,000ft every day, according to air traffic management company NATS.

The cases, known as ‘Airprox’ incidents, are recorded when the distance between aircraft "have been such that the safety of the aircraft involved was or may have been compromised.”
A spokesman from the CAA said: “Despite large year on year increases in the number of flights operated by UK airlines, the rate of Airprox incidents has decreased significantly in the period 1998-2007.”

London City Airport was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.