More planes heading for Suffolk skies

HUNDREDS more planes will soon be soaring across Suffolk's skies with moves to use the county as an overflow holding stack, it was confirmed today.The National Air Traffic Services plan to utilise the air space to cope with increasing demand.

HUNDREDS more planes will soon be soaring across Suffolk's skies with moves to use the county as an overflow holding stack, it was confirmed today.

The National Air Traffic Services plan to utilise the air space to cope with increasing demand.

The move, first revealed by the Evening Star in November, will see an increased build-up of traffic in the Witnesham and Henley areas.

Local MP Sir Michael Lord received replies from the aviation bodies after he was alerted to the plans by the Star.

"I have noted what they say and while they do seem to be trying to keep disruption to my constituents to a minimum, it is certainly something that needs to be monitored in the future," he said today.

Richard Everitt, of National Air Traffic Services (NATS), said plans to increase capacity in the region are to "minimise the inevitable effect of increasing delays on civil air transport operators".

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He added: "Without attempting to ease this affect by increasing the capacity of the region, any delays suffered by NATS' commercial customers and their passengers will inevitably increase in line with growth in demand."

The new overload hold, Lapra, is part of the Romeo 77 corridor, which has been dubbed the A14 of the sky.

Mr Everitt stressed Lapra would only be utilised during "peak times", as an overflow stacking space for planes heading for the Stansted and Luton airports.

But with moves to add extra runways at Stansted Airport already unveiled, demand on the county's airspace is likely to greatly increase in the next few years.

And increasing air traffic linked to the rapidly-expanding airports in the Midlands is also likely to be diverted over the county, between Southwold and Kettering.

Sir Roy McNulty, chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority, said there is no need for planning permission to fly new routes.

He added systems are in place to ensure any "overload" is avoided.

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