11:55AM, Thursday 07 February 2019
Fears have been raised that a historic airfield could close as part of Heathrow’s third runway plans.
Mark Green, deputy airfield manager at White Waltham Airfield, said changes to Heathrow operations could see aeroplanes flying as low as 1,700ft overhead. The lower flights could hinder the aerodrome’s operations enough that it is forced to close down.
Mark said that planes approaching from the west at that height ‘would probably mean we can’t operate’.
“If we can’t operate then the airfield would have to close.”
Heathrow’s ongoing Airspace and Future Operations consultation shows how an area will be affected by its new proposed flight paths.
White Waltham Airfield falls into a section – or ‘design envelope’ – that could see arriving planes fly between 1,700ft and 3,000ft and could reach up to 47 flights an hour. Parts of western Maidenhead fall into that section too.
“It means that we would not be able to fly and that obviously would be bad for business,” said Mark.
“It would put us out of business, really.”
A Heathrow spokeswoman said: “A design envelope is a geographical area within which it is technically possible to position one or more flight paths.
“It does not mean that final flight paths will be spread across the full width of the envelope.”
But Mark worries about staff losing their jobs if the airfield has to close. The airfield employs 50 people, not
He said: “We are encouraging as many people as possible to reply to the consultation and say it would be bad for the airfield.”
He also insisted he had no problem with the third runway ‘as such’ and believed it would be possible to operate it ‘without detriment’ to the airfield.
White Waltham trains pilots, is used by hobbyists and is home to the West London Aero Club.
It was the headquarters of the Air Transport Auxiliary, which transported RAF aircraft across the country during the Second World War.
The organisation was notable for including female pilots who flew fighters and heavy bombers.
The Heathrow spokeswoman said: “Feedback from this consultation, together with our design principles and technical requirements, will be used to develop our flight path options.
“These will be the proposed routes that aircraft will fly and we plan to hold a further consultation on our preferred options.”
Visit feedback.heathrowconsultation.com to see the consultation and how your area will be affected.
The consultation closes on Monday, March 4. An information event will be held at 2pm-8pm today (Thursday) at the Nicholsons Centre.
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