Aircraft taking off from some airports are required to follow specific flight paths called Noise Preferential Routes
(NPRs), unless directed otherwise by air traffic control.
The NPRs at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted are designated and overseen by the Secretary of State for Transport (not
the CAA), and were designed to avoid the overflight of built-up areas where possible. They set a path for the aircraft
to take from the runway until they reach the main UK air traffic routes.
An aircraft’s ability to follow an exact route is affected by factors such as:
Each NPR is contained in a corridor extending 1.5 km either side of the NPR centre line. Aircraft flying inside this
corridor are considered to be flying on-track.
Once an aircraft reaches the NPR release altitude (typically 4,000 feet), a controller can instruct it to turn onto a more direct heading to its destination, which may take the aircraft outside the NPR corridor - this is called vectoring. There may be occasions where it is necessary for safety reasons (e.g. to avoid severe weather conditions) to vector aircraft off NPRs below the release altitude.
Any change to the dimensions of NPRs would require the approval of the Secretary of State for Transport.
Complaints or comments about NPRs should be addressed to the Secretary of State for Transport for issues at
Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted and to the airport itself for other locations.
If you are jetting off this bank holiday weekend take a quick look at our top tips https://t.co/a5vGh8hXlW to help… https://t.co/mZ4SiBBqWW
2 days ago
If you are planning on hiring a commercial drone operator, make sure they are fully approved… https://t.co/Tri848CSP2
3 days ago
The UK Civil Aviation Authority confirms that Richard Moriarty today (24 May 2018) becomes its new Chief Executive… https://t.co/1FpfIwWMwj
3 days ago
Read all @UK_CAA
Only use approved commercial drone users or you could be out of pocket – warns CAA
24 May, 2018
How late would you book?
22 May, 2018
Civil Aviation Authority launches review of airlines’ allocated seating policies
2 February, 2018
Read all News
Planning your next holiday abroad?
10 April, 2018
‘Share the Air’ gets off to a flying start
1 December, 2017
Passengers with hidden disabilities
8 December, 2016
Read All Blogs