Proposals to more than double weekend and bank holiday flights from Farnborough Airport, and raise the airport’s total cap from 50,000 to 70,000 flights a year, have gone out to public consultation.
Six public consultation drop-in events are scheduled from September 20 to 30 at five different locations. Farnham Maltings hosts a consultation drop-in from 4pm to 8pm on Thursday, September 21.
The key proposals are:
- An increase to 70,000 flights a year, up from 50,000.
- Weekend and bank holiday flights going up from 8,900 to 18,000.
- Flights would be allowed an hour earlier and later on non-weekdays, from 8am to 8pm currently to 7am to 9pm.
- Raising the restricted aircraft weight category from 50-80 tonnes, to 55-80 tonnes, allowing heavier aircraft to operate without restriction.
The airport’s expansion plans would mean a 40 per cent increase in flights overall – and an increase of up to 102 per cent at weekends and bank holidays.
Farnborough does not expect to reach the full capacities proposed until 2040. But an airport representative said: “It is essential we consult on these changes now so we can start to plan and invest for the long term.
“We need to find a balance between safeguarding and increasing the economic benefit of the airport versus its environmental impact.”
However, campaigners believe the consultation will be more of a “sales pitch” and Extinction Rebellion has urged people “not to believe the green-washing” as the Australian company that owns the airport, Macquarie, has been widely blamed for the crisis at Britain’s biggest water company, Thames Water.
Macquarie sold its final stake in Thames Water in 2017, leaving the utility company with a reported £2 billion debt burden said to have contributed to inadequate investment in infrastructure – and ultimately regular leaks of raw sewage into waterways.
Farnborough Airport claims it contributes £200 million to the local economy, supporting many thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly.