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ILS replacement

Updated 26 April 2016

We are replacing Heathrow’s landing systems – known as the Instrument Landing Systems (ILS). The ILS is a radio beam used to guide aircraft into land at Heathrow. There are four landing systems at Heathrow – one at either end of the two runways. These systems have come to the end of their life and need replacing. The two landing systems for the westerly runways (known as 27L and 27R) were replaced last summer. This year we plan to replace the landing aids for the two easterly runways (09L and 09R).

The work to replace the ILS for the southern runway (09R) during easterly operations is due to begin on Saturday 23 April 2016. The work should take five days to complete. We have made every effort to minimise the impact on local communities by carrying out the work when a period of westerly operations (i.e. when there are westerly winds) are forecast.

That means there should be no impact to normal operations for the first four days of the works (Saturday 23 April to Tuesday 26 April). However, on the last day (Wednesday 27th April) aircraft will have to use the northern runway (27R) as the main arrivals runway all day (rather than alternating at 3pm as normal). Departing aircraft will use the southern runway (27L). This means that some residents will experience more overflight than usual on Wednesday 27 April.

Flight checks

In order to test the new landing system once it has been installed, safety flight checks are required by the CAA. The checks will be carried out by a small/light aircraft and involves the aircraft doing a number of approaches to test the new system.

The calibration flights take place during the night period when there are no other aircraft landing or taking off at Heathrow. The checks were scheduled to take place on the nights of Monday 25 April and Tuesday 26 April, however these were completed ahead of schedule on Monday 25 April.

We are very sorry for any disruption caused, however we hope you will appreciate that the work is essential to the safety of Heathrow’s operation.

More information about this can be found in the Q&A.

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