CAA Confirm ‘Route to Misery’ with uncertain prospect of ‘jam tomorrow’

(Press Release 18 April 2017)  In a decision that raises many more questions than it answers, the CAA has approved its second redesign of Gatwick departure Route 4 in three years, following its first attempt to introduce P-RNAV on this Route in 2013.


And in so doing, the CAA appeared indifferent to the misery of the people who wrote in complaining about the Route, by saying this outpouring was “AS EXPECTED”.   But it wasn’t so dismissive of the similar number of people who signed a petition complaining about the first redesign of Route 4, that became operational at the end of 2013.

The CAA’s conclusions seem a case of “If at first you don’t succeed, then repeat and compound your errors”.


A Commentary on the CAA’s decision can be found on the welcome page of our web site (

Residents visiting the website are also invited to sign up to the Route 4 Legacy Pledge, which calls on the CAA to revisit its decision and return Route 4 to the geographical position and dispersion pattern it occupied before 2013 (the ‘legacy Route’).



The decision raises many questions that will be posed in the coming weeks, and here are two:


1.     The ROUTE TO MISERY has been designed by first making a ‘correction’ – which the CAA had not required to be made for decades before now.

This ‘correction’ has the highly significant effect of moving the flight path roughly a kilometre further to the south, to a geographical position it has not occupied for decades, if at all (as residents who’ve lived here for 30 or 40 years will attest). It’s also a major contributor to the over-tight turn of the current Route.


So a question for the CAA is:   Why attempt to design a departure Route blighting many thousands of residents for the first time, which is based on a flight path that in reality has not existed for decades?

And why was making this correction not considered necessary, when the CAA attempted its first P-RNAV design for Route 4 in 2013?


2.     The CAA has passed the buck to Gatwick, to conduct a ‘jam tomorrow’ review, to see if anything might be done to reduce the damage to residents of the current Route 4. This includes the suggestion of introducing a second Route 4 swathe to the north of the current one.

This second swathe, if it came to fruition, would in all probability be located approximately in the position of the legacy Route (i.e. the geographical position of Route 4 prior to 2013, which kept the peace for decades in all communities with negligible complaints.)  


So the question is: If the CAA can contemplate the addition of such a swathe, then why not simply return Route 4 to its legacy position in the first place?