London Luton Airport (LLA) has today introduced Area Navigation (RNAV1) technology for departing flights leaving the airport along the Match/Detling flight routes used during westerly operations; helping to draw aircraft away from densely populated areas.

The introduction follows approval of the airport’s ‘Airspace Change Proposal’ by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) earlier this year which was made possible thanks to the positive engagement from Air Navigation Service Provider, NATS, airlines and local stakeholders and community groups.

RNAV1 uses GPS type technology enabling aircraft to fly routes more precisely, drawing aircraft away from densely populated areas, reducing noise disturbance and cutting emissions. Trials carried out from March to June 2013 found that the introduction of RNAV technology reduced the number of people over flown by 79% and will lead to annual savings of 290 tonnes of fuel and 885 tonnes of CO2.

Neil Thompson, Operations Director of LLA, said: “The introduction of RNAV1 is a great achievement; for over 10 years we have been working with airlines, NATS and the CAA to look at ways track-keeping can be improved to help reduce the number of people over flown. The plan now, working with our neighbours, is to secure approval from the regulator, the CAA, to deploy the same GPS technology on the remaining arrival and departure routes at LLA.”

Neil MacArthur, of local community group Harpenden Sky, said: “On behalf of the membership, and those other Harpenden west, south and central residents affected by Luton departing aircraft, we want to sincerely thank London Luton Airport for the understanding and effort that has been put into RNAV1 as a resolution of this issue.”

Gavin Shuker, MP for Luton South said; “London Luton is setting the standard for airport noise management in the UK. As part of its £100 million development programme the airport will adopt some of the most stringent noise controls in the country. Working closely with community groups the airport is also putting in place additional voluntary measures to address local concerns such as RNAV1. These are positive steps in balancing the need of local residents and boosting the economy which a growing airport will deliver.”