Commons Gate

The use of airspace (HC 163-iii)

Transport Committee 4 Mar 2009

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Evidence given by:
2.45 pm British Airways, Captain Dean Plumb, Manager Technical Developments, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Geoff Clark, Head of Flight Operations Regulatory Affairs, International Air Transport Association, Gerry O?Connell, Assistant Director, Safety Operations and Infrastructure, Europe
3.30 pm Ministry of Defence, Air Vice-Marshal Tim Anderson, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff, Air Commodore Mark Wordley, Director Defence Airspace and Air Traffic Management

Q265 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): My constituency is next to the Lake District. For many years we had the issues of low flying aircraft. The issue seems to have died down. Perhaps the numbers of low flying exercises have reduced or perhaps it is being shared more over the rest of the country. What is the situation?

Air Vice-Marshal Anderson: I think it is a combination of all of those factors. First and foremost, there has been a reduction overall in the amount of low flying. That is predicated on a reducing number of aircraft within the military inventory and on a variety of different capabilities which we now develop and train, including capabilities at higher levels, higher altitudes.

Q266 Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): Is this because the threat of war has changed?

Air Vice-Marshal Anderson: I do not think it is because the threat has changed. The sorts of things that continue to drive us to train at low levels still exist, but we have brought into our defence capabilities or armoury a number of other techniques and ways of doing our business, which mean that we do not solely rely on low level flying to do all that we need to do. There is a more effective use of the low flying areas as well. There has been a very conscious effort within the military to spread our activities around and make sure there are no hotspots that are there merely by dint of us not paying attention to what we are doing or trying our best to ensure that the training is spread around. There are a number of combinations that have resulted in what has definitely manifested itself as a reduction overall in low flying.

This is an uncorrected transcript of evidence taken in public and reported to the House. The transcript has been placed on the internet on the authority of the Committee. Neither witnesses nor Members have had the opportunity to correct the record. The transcript is not yet an approved formal record of these proceedings.

The full transcript may be read here.

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On behalf of Eric Martlew, 3 Chatsworth Square Carlisle Cumbria CA1 1HB