January 27th, 2011 CE Delft released a report that shows that a ban on night flights at Heathrow Airport before 6 am could actually benefit the British economy as a whole. Later this year, the British government is expected to consult on a new night flight schedule at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick airports. The CE Delft social cost benefit analysis, commissioned by HACAN, found that the economic benefits of having less night noise and consequentially less sleep disturbance, in addition to other positive side effects, would outweigh the costs of decreased earnings for the aviation sector and a possible decline in tourism revenue.
This balance of costs and benefits depends heavily upon passengers’ behavioural response to a night flight ban. Using three different response scenarios, CE Delft has found that the balance ranges from a net benefit of GBP 860 million to a net cost of GDP 53 million over a ten year period.