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.
RT @PosAbilityMag: The @QEF1 have produced a video talking viewers through the entire process of flying with a powered wheelchair✈️
RT @travelweekly: Film produced to help wheelchair using airline passengers:
Guide to flying with disability produced by charity with CAA…
RT @QEF1: Your Guide to Flying with a Disability is our new film showing a journey by air for Jon a powered wheelchair user. Developed with…
2 days ago
Read all @UK_CAA
Latest UK Aviation Consumer Survey finds passengers in the north and Northern Ireland ‘most satisfied’ flyers
30 December, 2018
CAA urges Christmas crack down on violent and drunken airline passengers
14 December, 2018
Latest Civil Aviation Authority review finds passengers still concerned about paying extra to sit together
27 October, 2018
Read all News
Why aviation helps give the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities a true global dimension
3 December, 2018
Planning your next holiday abroad?
10 April, 2018
‘Share the Air’ gets off to a flying start
1 December, 2017
Read All Blogs