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Concerns over late night Beluga flights

MP Stephen Mosley raises concerns about noise disturbance up to midnight

The Airbus Beluga could take off and land up to midnight during the week

Chester MP Stephen Mosley has taken up concerns about the extra noise disturbance that will result from the Beluga taking off and landing up to midnight during the week.

Airbus has written to residents under the flight path in Blacon, Saltney Ferry, Broughton, Bretton, Hawarden, Ewloe and Penyfford to inform them that due to its ‘strong order book’ it needs to increase the number of Beluga flights across Europe.

The Beluga carries the wings made at Broughton in Flintshire over to assembly lines in Toulouse in France and Hamburg in Germany.

Airbus says operating hours at all its sites are being extended, including Broughton, which needs to handle later Beluga flights.

Chester MP Mr Mosley has written to the Department of Transport about the proposed changes who have advised him it is a matter for Flintshire County Council.

Mr Mosley is currently awaiting a response from the council’s chief executive Colin Everett after passing on concerns from one of his constituents and asking for comments.

From the end of November, the operating hours will be changing weekdays to 6.30am to midnight – currently 6.30am to 9pm.

There is no change to weekend operating at the present time but from October 2014, Saturdays hours will change to 6.30am to 9pm – currently 8.30am to 4pm – again to accommodate further increases to production rates.

Judith Stringfellow, Airbus community engagement manager, wrote: “We must emphasise that this extension to operating hours does not mean that late night flights are guaranteed to happen frequently and, importantly, the only aircraft that will be allowed to use these extended hours will be the Beluga.

“Where possible, the flights after 21.00 will be kept to a minimum. We anticipate that there will be less than one movement per week in the extended window by the end of the year. A movement can be a take-off or landing and this number of movements is subject to change.”

Airbus says it has not taken the decision lightly and aims to mitigate the impact of late night flights by shipping many of the single wings to Toulouse via road. The company is also making a multi-million pound investment in a Beluga loading building to allow operations to continue during adverse weather to reduce the disruption to the schedule and help minimise late night flights.

The change to flight times will be discussed at a One Voice for Blacon meeting taking place in the main hall at Blacon High School on Tuesday at 6.30pm.

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