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LBA breaks night time flying rules

GALBA makes formal complaint to Leeds City Council


In brief: during the summer of 2022, GALBA monitored the number of flights landing and taking off during the night at LBA. There are rules that limit the number of night flights and we’ve found that the airport has exceeded the limit by over 600 flights. That’s nearly 1 in 4 flights!


We’ve made a formal complaint to Leeds City Council, who have responsibility for monitoring and enforcing the rules. We want them to investigate as a matter of urgency and stop LBA flouting the rules. You can read our complaint here.


Tell your councillors! If you have been affected by noise from aircraft flying at night, make sure your councillors know all about what LBA has done. You can find contact details for your local councillors by using this link.


Tell your neighbours! Please share the news of LBA’s rule breaking with people in your area. Writing to local newspapers, posting on Community Facebook groups, informing residents associations and simply talking to people you know are all good ways to spread the word.

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In more detail: the existing planning permission for LBA includes conditions that set out what the airport can and cannot do. One of the conditions places a limit on night time flying. Night is defined as 23:00 to 07:00 and an aircraft movement is defined as a landing or a departure. The Summer Season is defined as British Summer Time, which was 27 March to 30 October in 2022.


The maximum number of night time aircraft movements in the Summer Season is set at 2,800 and at 1,200 in the Winter Season. Up to 10% of ‘unused’ night flights from the previous season may be transferred to the next season. Due to the impact of the pandemic during the previous Winter Season, the cap of 1,200 was not reached. Consequently, the limit on night time aircraft movements during the 2022 Summer Season was 2,920.


Summer Season 2022 GALBA recorded the number of night flights at LBA using real time flight data available online. For the full Summer season 2022, LBA flew a total of 3536 flights, that's 616 above the cap set by Leeds City Council. Click here to see the detailed data from our monitoring.


Double the flights, twice the noise It’s important to note that for each flight that shouldn't have flown at night, there is a corresponding return or outward journey during the day. So on a 24-hour basis that means over 1,200 flights that otherwise would not have taken off or departed. That’s a lot of additional noise and emissions.


Delayed flights GALBA is aware of comments by LBA’s Chief Exec that delayed flights do not count towards the quota. This is false. The ‘delayed flight exemption’ applies only to older, and noisier, aircraft that are not normally allowed to fly at night at all. None of these older types of aircraft now operate at LBA, so the ‘delayed flight exemption’ does not apply. For more detail on the ‘delayed flight exemption’, click here. GALBA also notes that delayed flights only make up a small number of night flights and would not in any case explain the breach of the conditions. In fact, LBA scheduled more night flights than is allowed, so if all aircraft had operated at their scheduled time, the quota would still have been exceeded.

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