So who is right about Luton’s night flights?

L13-321   14/3/13   MBLN'Airport noise protest on the steps of Luton Town Hall.'wk 12 SAS JX
L13-321 14/3/13 MBLN'Airport noise protest on the steps of Luton Town Hall.'wk 12 SAS JX

Anti-expansion campaigners and Luton Airport operators are locked in a dogfight over the possible future level of night flights if expansion plans are given the go-ahead.

The airport, which recognises that noise is a key local issue, has published a rebuttal of what it says are five inaccurate claims made by campaigners about noise and night flights – but the anti expansionists have hit back saying the airport has got things wrong.

London Luton Airport Operations Limited says there are a “growing number of inaccuracies relating to noise and night time flying which exist in the public domain”. It has published a ‘noise fact sheet’ at www.london-luton.co.uk/noisefactsheet

Airport managing director Glyn Jones said: “It is important that people are able to distinguish between what is correct, and what is hearsay.”

The airport says claims that it plans to double flights between 10pm and midnight and start commercial flights at 5am are untrue. It says the number of flights on a busy summer’s day could rise from 25 in 2012 to 45 if the airport achieves 18 million passengers per annum. Arrivals and departures between 5am and 6am could rise from seven to nine, the airport says.

However, campaigners have hit back, saying figures in the airport’s own planning application to Luton Borough Council, which also owns the airport, show flights rising from 17 to 35 during the 10pm to midnight time slot and an increase of six between 5am and 6am. The figures in the report were compiled by independent aviation experts and noise consultants Bickerdike Allen.

Campaigners want Luton Borough Council to apply planning controls to limit the number of night flights from Luton Airport to 2011 levels.