News Updates

GALBA alerts council to LBA’s misleading information about night flights

May 20 2024

LBA has given false and misleading information to its night time flight slots coordinator. We thought the council should know about this so we've sent them the message below.

We suspect that LBA is instructing a third party to operate rules that LBA knows have no legal basis.

Dear Councillor

We want to inform you that we believe that LBA has supplied false and misleading information to the company that allocates arrival and departure slots at the airport. That information not only contravenes the definition of the planning conditions understood by GALBA (and demonstrated by LCC with the Breach of Condition Notice (“BCN”) served on LBA), but also the definition claimed by LBA itself in CLEUD 2.

We suspect, therefore, that LBA is instructing a third party to operate rules that LBA knows have no legal basis.

We have written to that third party, Airport Coordination Limited (‘ACL’), to inform them that this is very likely to result in the contravention of planning conditions, and, further, would be in contravention of a BCN – a criminal offence. Our letter to ACL is on our website, but here is a brief summary.

LBA uses ACL to allocate its landing and departure slots to the airlines that operate at the airport. ACL’s published rules for slot allocation at LBA contain the following statement (paragraph 7.7):

“Aircraft with QC rating of 0.25 are exempt from counting towards Night Movement Quota”

You will be aware that the status of aircraft with a QC rating of 0.25 is significant to LBA’s breach of planning conditions and the contravention of the Breach of Condition Notice (‘BCN’) served by LCC. The definition of the relevant planning condition is disputed by LBA and is key to CLEUD 2. You will be aware that this CLEUD has not yet been determined by LCC.

You will be aware that the status of aircraft with a QC rating of 0.25 is significant to LBA’s breach of planning conditions and the contravention of the Breach of Condition Notice served by LCC.

In the CLEUD, LBA argues that QC0.25 aircraft (and indeed QC0.125 and QC0) are not (and have never been) allowed to operate at night under any circumstances. This interpretation would entirely undermine this purpose of the conditions, because it would prevent all night-time movements by modern, ‘quieter’ aircraft – and instead require airlines to continue using a noisier and outdated fleet despite technological advancements.

It is, of course, a thinly masked attempt by LBA to take many hundreds of flights out of the night time cap. The correct interpretation of the conditions, held by GALBA and by LCC, is that QC0.25 aircraft are allowed to operate at night and count towards the cap.

Nevertheless, taking these two interpretations, then either QC0.25 aircraft can operate at night and count towards the cap (GALBA and LCC’s view), or they are not allowed at all (LBA’s view).

In either case, the statement “Aircraft with QC rating of 0.25 are exempt from counting towards Night Movement Quota” is patently false.

This will remain the case until and unless LCC were to take the extraordinary step of approving CLEUD 2.

LBA must know this, yet have told ACL the opposite.

If you have any questions, please get back to us. We will keep you informed of ACL’s response.

Yours sincerely

Nick Hodgkinson

Chair of GALBA

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