Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh Airport unveils flight path trial

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Media captionThe trial route will take flights out along the river before climbing back over land

Edinburgh Airport has unveiled details of a five-month trial of a new flight path for departing aircraft in a bid to increase capacity.

The Airspace Trial, which will begin on 25 June, will introduce a new Standard Instrument Departure (SID) route.

Airport bosses said the new route would allow aircraft to take off at one-minute intervals.

They said it would allow the airport to maintain safe and sustainable growth without affecting punctuality.

Edinburgh is Scotland's busiest airport, with more than 40 airlines serving more than 100 destinations.

Last year, more than 10 million passengers passed through, making it the busiest year ever for a Scottish airport.

Most of the time the flights take off west towards Newbridge into the prevailing wind.

The airport currently uses three SID€™ routes - known as Grice (which goes north), Gosam (which goes south west) and Talla (south).

The new route - Tutur - will see aircraft take off in a south westerly direction and turn right towards the River Forth, passing over West Lothian and to the east of Linlithgow.

Aircraft will climb as they fly above the river before flying back over land at approximately 13,000ft near Musselburgh racecourse in East Lothian.

Image copyright Edinburgh Airport
Image caption The new Standard Instrument Departure will be on trial until the end of November

David Wilson, chief operating officer of Edinburgh Airport, said: "At the moment, Scotland's aircraft currently fly on a network that was designed in the 1970s.

"What we're aiming to do is begin upgrading the airspace above Edinburgh Airport and bring it into the 21st Century."

He said the trial would give more modern aircraft the opportunity to take off on a new westerly departure route.

Mr Wilson said: "We've taken great care to design this new departure route with the utmost consideration for our neighbours.

"The route passes over very few populated areas and flies over the river for the bulk of its flight path."

He said the trial would monitor the impact on local communities and noise monitors would be placed along the flight path to collect data on the flights.

Councillor Gavin Corbett, of the Scottish Greens, said he would like to see a more fundamental review of travel capacity.

He said: "For example, almost half of Edinburgh Airport's traffic is domestic traffic. That's the kind of traffic which should be on the railways and perhaps that's the way forward."

Glasgow Airport is also reviewing its airspace.

Along with Edinburgh and Prestwick airport, it is part of the Scottish Airspace Development Design Group, formed last year to review capacity and future growth of air travel in central Scotland.

A spokesman for Glasgow Airport said: "Scotland's aircraft currently fly on a network designed in the 1970s and there will be a requirement for this to be upgraded.

"We are currently working to understand what this means for Glasgow Airport, however, we will consult fully with relevant stakeholder groups, community representatives and other interested parties prior to any trials."

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