§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what action is being taken to reduce the disturbance caused by the sonic booms generated by Concorde flights.
§ Mr. Eyre
The problem of sonic booms associated with Concorde flight has been under continuous investigation since Concorde first entered commercial service in 1976 and a number of changes in operational procedures have already been introduced in an attempt to overcome it. Although these changes have eliminated the primary booms and have greatly reduced the disturbance caused by the secondary or reflected booms, it is evident that any further improvement is unlikely to be obtained unless the point at which Concorde decelerates to subsonic speed is moved futher westwards.
If this is to be done without imposing unacceptable fuel penalties on concorde operations, it needs to be associated with some modification of the route structre and it has been difficult to arrange this in a way that ensures that the high standards of safety observed by our air traffic control services are maintained. I am glad to be able to say that agreement has now been reached on a revised procedure which meets all of these objectives. I hope that this will largely eliminate the disturbance caused by secondary sonic booms.
I have placed in the Library a map showing the new route structure together with a short summary of the history of this problem