Heathrow has announced plans to reduce unscheduled flights arriving into the airport after the start of the Night Quota Period (NQP), through “tougher charges”.

Currently Heathrow operates its NQP between 2330 and 0600, with restrictions on what flights can operate during these hours (more information on this can be seen here).

The airport now wants to disincentivise flights which are scheduled to arrive before the start of the NQP, from arriving late, with increased charges for those that do so.

Heathrow said that “In a bid to crack down on the number of flights disrupting the communities closest to the airport, airlines that operate unscheduled flights within the night time-period will be faced with a bill five times greater than daytime charges”.

The airport said that the action “are in response to community feedback on ways to improve noise impacts and complement Heathrow’s wider noise action plan”.

Commenting on the news, Heathrow community and stakeholder engagement director, Rob Gray, said:

“It is really important that we work with our local communities and airlines to strictly manage aircraft noise at Heathrow. We continue to take vital steps to improve matters, including our new noise charges on all flights that arrive or depart the airport during the night.”

“Since the 1970s, despite a doubling of the number of flights, the population significantly affected by aircraft noise around Heathrow has reduced by around 90 per cent. We believe the number of people impacted by aircraft noise will continue to reduce as we work towards a quieter, better future for Heathrow through the use of noise envelopes and our Noise Action Plan.”

Last week the planned expansion of Heathrow was thrown into doubt, when The Court of Appeal ruled that the government’s Airports National Policy Statement (which effectively gave the go-ahead for a third runway at Heathrow) was unlawful as it failed “to take into account the Government’s commitment to the provisions of the Paris Agreement on climate change”.