Aircraft and Environmental

Aircraft Movements

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The majority of commercial aircraft are guided by Exeter’s Air Traffic Control (ATC) onto the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at between 8 and 20 miles from the airport. During landing, take off and when undertaking training or other manoeuvres, aircraft use the established routes for Approach, Departure and Circuits.

For aircraft stability reasons the direction in which aircraft land and depart depends on the wind direction. However, the large majority of aircraft arrivals are from the east and departures are to the west. When the wind is from the east aircraft may be more noticeable approaching over the city.  Exeter Airport operates with one runway and, in aviation terms, an aircraft approaching from the west will be using Runway 08 (zero eight) and from the east using Runway 26 (two six).

Training flights often take place within the close proximity of the airport. This may involve the training of pilots who are becoming familiar with the approach and departure routes.  When the aircraft is on ‘visual circuits’. The aircraft will be noted on several occasions in the same area.

During busy periods, aircraft that are flying visually are not always able to make a straight in approach due to conflicting traffic.  When this occurs, aircraft will be asked by ATC to join the visual circuit.  Once in the visual circuit, aircraft may be asked to make ‘orbits’ and remain in the same area until a landing slot becomes available.

There are no restriction on night flights at Exeter but the majority of these are Royal Mail flights which enable first-class postal deliveries. Businesses and households rely on these flights for overnight mail delivery and the transfer of urgent parts and medical supplies.

Some leisure travel also requires inbound flights after midnight due to aircraft capacity constraints. This enables affordable holidays in peak summer months when there is a 30% increase in demand.

Exeter’s ATC also deal with air traffic in a 2.5 mile radius around the airport but they will not necessarily have contact with the pilot of a light aircraft.  Light aircraft also operate in the area from other airfields such as Dunkerswell, Branscombe, Farway and Eaglescott.

Unusual and Annoyance

  • If the aircraft activity is not associated with this airport please see the information from the Civil Aviation Authority.
  • If the aircraft activity involves Military aircraft complaints should be directed to: www.gov.uk/low-flying-in-your-area  01780 417 558
  • If the aircraft activity is suspected as being for criminal purposes or a security risk contact Crime Stoppers 0800 555 111 or call the Police 101.
  • If the aircraft activity is associated with Exeter Airport movements please use the feedback form: Aircraft – Unusual & Annoyance.
    Annoyance issues will be presented to the Consultative Committee and the meeting’s minutes are posted in the Community section of the About Us page.

Environmental Policy

The Exeter Airport Environmental Policy sets out a commitment of responsibility through the development and improvement of management systems.

Exeter and Devon Airport Ltd provides a regional service to passengers, airlines and general aviation.  By working closely with our local communities, tenants and customers, our aim is to provide a sustainable service that brings social and economic benefits to the area while protecting the environment. We are committed to continually improving our environmental performance, preventing pollution, and complying with all applicable legal and other obligations.

We recognise that the operation of the Airport has a number of environmental impacts. These range from local noise and air quality impacts to contribution to global climate change. Some of these impacts are a direct result of our own activities; others are a result of the operations of our tenants, airlines, and service partners. As the owner and operator of the site, we will seek to work in partnership with the other companies to help reduce the environmental impacts where possible.

To help us achieve these commitments, we will continue to operate and improve our Environmental Management System that is fully integrated into our business processes and certified to the international standard, ISO 14001. This will help us to:
•    understand the needs and expectations of interested parties;
•    assign and communicate roles, responsibilities and authorities;
•    determine risks and opportunities, and identify and assess the environmental aspects associated with our activities, and the activities of our tenants and other partners;
•    identify and understand our compliance obligations (legal and other requirements);
•    develop objectives and plans to address our significant environmental aspects, compliance obligations, and risks and opportunities;
•    develop and implement operational controls and procedures to comply with our obligations, prevent pollution, protect the environment, and achieve our objectives;
•    prepare for emergency situations and respond to them effectively;
•    provide appropriate information & training to our employees and others working on our behalf;
•    encourage tenants and other partners to improve their environmental performance;
•    engage with local communities and others affected by the environmental performance of the Airport;
•    monitor our performance and progress in achieving our objectives, and regularly review the effectiveness of the management system.

This policy will be reviewed annually and updated by the Managing Director as necessary to ensure its continued suitability and effectiveness. It shall be made available to all employees via notice boards and the Airport’s intranet; to tenants, airlines and contractors through direct communication; and to passengers and the general public through this website.

Passengers are also invited to contribute to co2balance.com schemes that will minimise the effect of their flight’s carbon emissions. The South West company will invest funds in sequestration or energy efficiency projects that absorb or prevent the release of the CO2 equivalent to the Carbon Footprint of the flight.

Airline Responsibility

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines. IATA’s environmental policy was established to support efforts in carbon reduction, alternative fuels, fuel efficiency, local air quality, and noise. Also see www.enviro.aero

Flybe, the largest operator at Exeter, is at the forefront of the efforts to reduce the environmental impact of air travel and has a policy of promoting sustainable growth in the aviation industry: Low Cost but Not at Any Cost

Airport Surface Access

Local planning and highway authorities, infrastructure providers and transport operators are aware of the need to improve the surface access to/from the airport.

Alternatives to car usage are offered and the airport assists by funding the Sunday bus service.

The Airport Master Plan (Section 8.2) stated that the airport’s surface access strategy objectives were:

  • To increase the ease of access to the airport by public transport
  • To ensure that there is adequate, reasonably-priced car parking to minimise the number of ‘dropped off cars’ at the terminal to reduce trip generation
  • To work with local agencies to support the development of a sustainable integrated transport plan
  • To develop a green travel plan for airport staff

The benefits to the environment and local community can be summarised as:

  • Reductions in car use, reducing congestion and air pollution
  • Ensuring that the communities close to the airport can benefit from better public transport.