Contrary to some reports, the change in flight-paths isn’t part of the current trial to change flight-paths – this affects towns along the normal incoming path above Chiswick, Wandsworth etc during quieter times in order to reduce delays and late-running flights.
Planes at Heathrow usually land and take-off in a westerly direction. When the wind direction changes however, so must the arrivals and departure directions of planes – taking them directly over Teddington when taking off. Recent clear skies overnight have also made the planes sound particularly noisy.
Although rising to operating at 98% capacity in recent years, Heathrow, along with other BAA-owned airports are currently suffering a fall in passenger numbers due to a “softening in the global economy” although few doubt that extra capacity in the London area will need to be increased sooner or later.
[Update 15/11/2011] BAA have re-iterated the recent increased plane noise over Teddington is due only to the change in wind direction and subsequent change of west-east departure routes – this prolonged period of easterly wind has also brought the recent mild winter temperatures.
By coincidence the Heathrow runway trial started on the same day that the wind direction changed (November 1st) so residents believe the trial to be the cause of more planes overhead – this isn’t the case. The trial only affects landing planes (by using both runways instead of just one) but planes do not land via Teddington airspace.
[Update 01/12/2011] Vincent Cable has written to Aviation Minister Theresa Villiers for an explanation after his office was flooded with complaints from residents complaining about the increase recent aircraft noise.
In answer to another request, a letter from BAA has been issued that explains the cause of the increased noise over the trial period along with some statistics.