04:20PM, Thursday 21 February 2019
Concerns about the future of a historic airfield have eased following discussions with Heathrow over its proposed new flight paths.
Earlier this month, the Advertiser reported that White Waltham Airfield could be so badly affected by the London airport’s proposals that it could close.
Heathrow’s flight path consultation shows that planes could fly as low as 1,700ft – which Mark Green, the deputy airfield manager at White Waltham, said would stop the aerodrome from operating.
But Mark feels better about the airfield’s future after the two parties spoke about the flight paths last week.
“We had a meeting with some representatives from Heathrow Airport who have provided a better understanding of their methodology of how they are working it out, which has gone some way to easing our fears, but only time will tell,” he said.
Though nothing was set in stone, he feels more optimistic than earlier in the month – when he told the Advertiser that the 50 jobs at White Waltham would be at risk if the airfield needed to close. Another meeting is scheduled.
The airfield, which hosted the renowned Air Transport Auxiliary in the Second World War, is also home to the West London Aero Club.
When asked why he was more optimistic, he said: “They spoke very positively about the airfield, which is good. Also, their explanation of the aircraft paths being such a broad band.”
Heathrow plans show that 1,700ft is a the lowest aircraft arriving at Heathrow could fly at under the Airspace and Future Operations consultation’s proposals, which parcel areas near the airport into envelopes that provide a band for the altitude planes will fly at. Aircraft could actually come in higher, up to 3,000ft.
When asked to comment on the consultation earlier this month, a Heathrow spokeswoman stressed that feedback would be used to develop options for flight paths.
“These will be the proposed routes that aircraft will fly and we plan to hold a further consultation on our preferred options,” she said.
Heathrow had not replied to a request for comment on last week’s meeting at the time the Advertiser went to press.
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