London Heathrow is to conduct trials with slightly steeper glidepaths from mid-September, raising the approach angle from 3° to 3.2°.

The test is part of an assessment which could ultimately involve even steeper approaches of 3.5°.

British Airways says it has been working with air navigation service NATS and other partners to “investigate the feasibility” of such approaches for noise abatement.

While the carrier says there is still a “substantial amount to do”, Heathrow’s operator states that a six-month trial will be conducted from 14 September.

Aircraft approaching the airport will be around 170ft higher at a distance of 8nm from the threshold.

“The steeper the angle, the less time an aircraft spends at low altitudes, which means that fewer people should be affected by higher levels of noise,” says the operator.

It states that the 3.2° approaches will only be used voluntarily, and during good visibility. Although the trial is optional, Heathrow’s operator says that suitably-equipped aircraft will be “encouraged” to use these approaches, which will be available in both directions on each parallel runway.

Source: Cirium Dashboard