In February 2017 the Department for Transport published ‘Upgrading UK Airspace’. This document reviewed how modern aircraft can use new technology onboard aircraft for greater efficiency and reduced noise. The current departure routes for aircraft are based on navigation equipment on the ground. Modern aircraft can replace this method of navigation by using satellites. Satellite-based routes enable aircraft to follow the centre lines of departure routes while maintaining safety more accurately. Find out more about Manchester Airport Future Airspace programme.
Where do aircraft fly on arrival and departure?
If you live within 20 miles of a major international airport such as Manchester, it is inevitable you will see and hear aircraft. On our other web pages, we have provided a range data sheet and video clips that describe how we operate currently. There are also data sheets that show the experience of arrivals and departures in previous years. Many of our procedures and practices have been in place for decades; others have been introduced more recently. All are designed to ensure the safest and quietest aircraft operations possible.
The instrument landing system and changes that affect arriving aircraft
Checks to ensure the accuracy/strength of the Instrument Landing System requires a number of approaches to our runways by a small propeller aircraft. The aircraft then breaks away south or north after each approach and orbit around for the next approach. The approaches are planned for a window when the aircraft can make multiple approaches without having to wait for other arriving or departing traffic to clear the runway. This procedure has been formulated to reduce the need to circle at low level whilst waiting to make another approach, which could otherwise result in increased community disturbance. The Autumn 2021 ILS checks are planned (weather dependent) to take place on the daytime of Wednesday 20th October and overnight of Wednesday 20th/Thursday 21st October.
Regular preventative maintenance is required on the antennae arrays and ground-based ILS infrastructure. While work is carried out on the ILS it is not be available and aircraft use navigational guidance provided by alternative equipment, known as the VOR and DME. Approach and landings using the VOR and DME navigational equipment mean that aircraft approaching to land are displaced from their usual precise centre line. Aircraft landing on these days will be using these different navigational aids must be configured to land earlier in their approach. This means that with the flaps extended and undercarriage deployed earlier, aircraft may also be noisier than usual. The Autumn 2021 ILS checks have been completed and we will publish details of the Spring 2022 checks when known.
Maintenance works that may affect departing aircraft
In order to fly within the standard Preferred Noise Routes (PNRs) used by departures from Manchester Airport, aircraft fly Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs). Aircraft are reliant on a network of ground-based navigational aids to guide them on these routes. These navigational aids are part of a national infrastructure network provided and maintained by National Air Traffic Services (NATS). If any or all navigational aids required to fly the SID are not available then the aircraft will instead be issued a Non-Standard Departure Instruction that will cause them to fly outside of the normal Preferred Noise Routes.
Due to technical issues with this equipment, flights from Manchester were unable to follow their usual departure routes for over a week in October. As a result, flights were temporarily rerouted and passed over areas that would not normally experience frequent air traffic. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by these temporary changes, which were out of Manchester Airport’s control. NATS worked towards a resolution of the issue as quickly as they were able to.
Keeping in touch
We are committed to staying in touch with our community. To help provide the best possible service to the people who live in our neighbourhood, we hold regular Community Outreach 'surgeries' across the area, giving local residents the opportunity to raise queries and ask questions of members of our Engagement Team. See our Outreach page for more information.
Listening to you
We recognise that we can be a noisy and disruptive neighbour; and so we are always keen to engage with those that are affected by our operations. We work hard to ensure that we operate in a manner designed to cause the least disturbance possible whilst meeting the public demand to fly. On this site, we provide information on our normal operations as well as notice and explanation when there are significant changes. The video on the next page provides further insight into our complainants procedures.
How do I record disturbance?
If you are particularly disturbed by Airport operations we can investigate your concern; we have produced a short video clip that outlines the care we take to investigate and reply to complaints made.
If you would like us to investigate please register your complaint on the next page.