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04 Mar 2021
On Friday 5 March, Heathrow will be launching a consultation on the permanent adoption of Slightly Steeper Approaches for some of the aircraft arriving at the airport.

Slightly Steeper Approaches (SSA) have been in operation at Heathrow on a temporary basis following trials held between 2015 and 2017. Most aircraft arriving into Heathrow fly a standard 3.0° approach angle which is similar to most airports around the world. However, a small percentage fly a 3.2° SSA, causing them to fly higher for longer. The trials demonstrated that this helps to reduce the noise footprint on the ground.

Minimising the impact of aircraft noise is a priority for Heathrow. We have been at the forefront of efforts to tackle noise and as a result Heathrow's noise footprint has shrunk considerably over the past few decades. The permanent adoption of SSA is one of the steps we are taking as we continue to make efforts to reduce the impact of noise.

The four week consultation will run from 5 March to 2 April and will give you a chance to examine our proposals and let us know if you support the adoption of SSA at Heathrow.

The consultation is part of the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) Airspace Change Process, which we are required to follow to implement permanent changes to airspace. Following the creation of design principles, and the development and initial appraisal of options for SSA, we are now at Stage 3 of the Airspace Change Process. This is the stage where we undertake detailed analysis of SSA and then consult with our stakeholders. We would like to thank everyone who provided input into the earlier stages of this process.

The consultation documents and response form will be available from Friday 5 March here. If you are unable to respond online, you may respond in writing using the feedback form provided in the consultation documents. If you have any questions about our consultation, or would like to request a hard copy of our consultation material, please contact the Heathrow Community Helpdesk (0800 344844) or email