Put simply, Luton Airport is in the wrong place – its planes cannot avoid flying over populated areas very close to the airfield. That is why its further expansion should be firmly regulated and controlled in a similar way to a city airport. Night flights are banned at London City, for example, by planning condition.
Why might the government have failed to ensure similar restrictions on night flights from Luton Airport? Perhaps because it wants to export the night flight noise out of the capital and allow provincial residents to suffer instead? Certainly there is no justification in permitting Luton Airport and the cheap flight operators which use it to lay on flights to Eastern Europe which depart at 2am, for example.
The aircraft track map below shows arriving flights in red and departing flights in green for a typical day at Luton Airport, when the wind is from the west (around 70% of the time).
The second map shows the Luton Airport arrivals (red) and departures (green) on the less frequent occasions when the wind is from the east:
It is easy to see how the airport cannot avoid arrivals going straight over South Luton or Stevenage, and departures affecting most of the nearby towns and villages. Its runway end is closer to houses than at any other non-city airport.
Expansion of Luton Airport capacity is going to add 60% more flights on these routes compared to 2011. LADACAN campaigned strongly against this expansion on the grounds that “enough is enough” for this badly sited and poorly regulated airport.