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Airports choose not to fine airlines for bad track-keeping

17th August, 2010

One of our members has raised the issue of bad track-keeping, having heard that aircraft operators can be fined by the airport for doing so.  We are indebted to another member, Paul Grimley, for the following information.

Historically, we understand that airports in UK did not have specific legal power to fine airlines for bad track keeping.  From memory, many years ago Manchester airport did actually attempt to fine British Midland for not adhering to departure tracks – BM contested this in court and won – the court decided that the airport did not have such powers.  Please note this is from memory – we can’t trace any documentation on this.

Following this case, airports were very gentle in attempting to control airline behaviour.

However, since that case, airports’ powers have changed. The Civil Aviation Act 2006 vests in airports a legal power to create a Noise Control Scheme. A Noise Control Scheme can define takeoff and landing procedures, including track keeping, and can set legally enforceable penalties for not adhering to these procedures.

So within the context of a Noise Control Scheme, defined within powers vested in airports by Civil Aviation Act 2006, airlines can be fined for bad track keeping.

The bad news is that no airport in the UK has established a Noise Control Scheme under these powers. All UK airports have chosen not to apply their new powers under the act. So it appears that no airports intend to fine airlines for bad track keeping.