There won’t be any limit on the number of flights using the airport - by day or by night
LBA’s Application wants to replace the existing cap on night flights of 4,000 per year with a noise quota that has no absolute cap on flight numbers. It’s a mathematical formula based on the noise made by each type of plane. The noise quota of 1,375 proposed by LBA would allow 11,000 Airbus Neo flights, nearly tripling the current cap. As (slightly) quieter planes are not counted, there is no absolute cap on night flights. You have to wonder why LBA wants to remove the current cap which is higher than both Heathrow and Gatwick - the UK’s two busiest airports. There’s a more detailed explanation of the noise quota below.
The Application also sets no limit on the number of flights during the day. LBA wants as many take-offs and landings as possible, starting at 6am and going on till 11.30pm. The busiest time will be early in the morning, with new peak times throughout the day.
The noise quota...
Noise quotas were developed for the London regulated airports and were designed to work in conjunction with an overall cap. The London airports currently have the following caps on night time air traffic movements (ATMs), or flights in other words:
Heathrow Airport: 2,550
Gatwick Airport: 3,250
Stansted Airport: 5,600
It can be seen that at the two busiest airports in the UK, the quotas are lower than the current quota at LBA which LBA wants to abolish. LBA is proposing a noise quota of 1,375. That means that 1,375 ATMs by planes with a QC1 rating are allowed. A QC is a measurement of the amount of noise a plane makes on take-off and landing. There are several QC bands. As the QC number gets smaller, the planes get (slightly) quieter, and the number of ATMs doubles, as shown below. So, for LBA:
QC0.5 = 2,750 ATMs
QC0.25 = 5,500 ATMs
QC0.125 = 11,000 ATMs (1,375 / 0.125)
And this is concentrated over a night time period that has been shortened by 23%.
As an example, the Airbus Neo, which is one of the newer planes that the Application claims will make up the majority in service by 2030 has a QC of 0.125, therefore 11,000 per year would be allowed to fly. There is also a category of QC0 which does not count towards the quota. These are usually smaller passenger and private jets, so these can fly in addition to the quota above, consequently there is no theoretical or absolute maximum.