§ Mr. Higgins
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the earliest time in the morning at which scheduled aircraft are permitted to land at Heathrow; how many have arrived earlier in the last three months for which figures are readily available; and for what reasons.
§ Mr. Ridley
Heathrow airport is open to scheduled traffic at all times. Statutory limitations, however, are imposed which include quotas for the number and type of movements that may take place during specified periods at night. Full details of these limitations were set out in the then Department of Trade's press notice "Aircraft Noise at Heathrow and Gatwick" of 29 April 1981, a copy of which is in the Library. These limitations are strictly applied: as the quotas cover seasonable periods there is sufficient flexibility to ensure that they are not exceeded. Within the limitations, airlines are free to use the airport to meet their needs, and variations in the pattern of movements are possible.