Queen Elizabeth II Funeral: Restrictions in London

By Rebecca Lougheed

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The Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will take place on September 19th, from 0900-1900z. There are likely to be significant restrictions in and around London on the day.

September 19 will also become a new Bank Holiday, and a greater than usual number of closures of businesses can be expected on the day.

Here’s what we currently know as of September 14:

(All times in Zulu… we think)

All London Airports

Have a read of our post on London Airport options, and general top tips.

All the airports will operate at a reduced capacity. Except a similar thing to what you see on public holidays.

  • A two hour ground limit is likely at most airports
  • No helicopters will be allowed (except probably a lot of police helicopters over London, look out for them)

Demand is already building so get your requests in soon if you need to operate in. Important folk from about 120 countries are likely to be attend and guess where they’ll all be flying into…

Security is going to be significantly higher as well.

EGLL/London Heathrow

The issue is noise levels, and trying to manage it alongside where the procession will be taking place, which is why they have something called “Operation London Bridge”. The main ‘quiet time’ will likely be from 1350-1440z.

At the moment, a full stop on operations has not been suggested. However, there is probably going to be significant reductions in operations. So, here’s the current plan:

Westerlies are expected to be in use, and if they are then the plan is this:

  • 0900-1230 Stop on all arrivals, but departures will still operate
  • 1050-1105 Stop on all arrivals and departures during the National two minutes silence. This will be managed tactically (so you’ll probably just hold a little longer)
  • 1230-1400 Stop on all arrivals and all departures
  • 1400-1900 Stop on all departures, arrivals will still operate
  • 1900 Operations will begin to return to normal

If Easterlies are in use then it gets a bit more complicated.

  • Departures will be stopped in the morning
  • Arrivals will be stopped in the afternoon
  • But no departures means no space on the ground, which means a further reduction in the morning for arrivals as well.

The CAA has confirmed that any cancellations due to all this will be alleviated, so make sure you reference ‘London Bridge’ when making your request.

Filing EGLL as an alternate on this date is probably not advisable as they are unlikely to be able to accept you (except on an Emergency). In fact, the AIP says not to.

EGKK/Gatwick

Gatwick has some closures from Sep 14-16:

  • 15 Sep Whole airport closed 0355-0415z
  • 16 Sep Whole airport closed 0250-0405z
  • 17 Sep Open but no arrivals or departures 0225-0420z
  • 18 Sep Open but no arrivals or departures 0310-0425z

So basically tiny night closures. Notams A6976/22, A6977/22, A7020/22 and A7021/22 are the ones to check. We haven’t seen anything specific for the 19th.

Signature Handling is also going to be temporarily handed over to the Foreign Commonwealth and Development office so expect slower responses to slot requests and monitor for more restrictions by notam.

EGKB/Biggin Hill

We’ve not see any restrictions on Sep 19th, but there is a flypast on the 17th so it will be closed 1650-1700z (Notam C5209/22)

EGLC/London City

If the westerly Runway 27 is in use then arrivals will be impacted less, but departures that continue west may be an issue. Early turns and significant extra routing might be required.

If it is the easterly Runway 09 in use its more difficult again because northerly arrivals and the approach are over the City. There are likely to be restrictions here as well in that case.

EGGW/Luton

  • Closed on Sep 18th from 1845-1915 (Notam A6988/22)
  • Closed on Sep 19th for 2 hours… but we’re not sure the time yet
  • Also closed 0000-0530 17-18 for annual maintenance (Notam A6554/22)

EGSS/Stansted

Stansted is expected to be handling the majority of traffic coming in for the funeral. Currently, slots are taking longer to get approved because the FCDO is sorting this.

Parking is already filling up fast too so if you need it, book it soon.

  • Night Restrictions are still in place between 0520-2220z daily
  • Only emergency diversions will be accepted on Sep 19th due parking and ground capacity limits

EGMC/Southend

  • Closed 0530-1300z on the 19th (we haven’t seen a notam for this yet)
  • The airport is ‘strictly PPR’ until the 22nd (Notam P0144/22)

EGTK/Oxford

(Because it’s not really London) they aren’t expecting any restrictions or capacity problems.

EGLF/Farnborough

We haven’t spotted any restrictions for here. The FBO says ‘normal weekend/public holiday restrictions’.

EGWU/Northolt

RAF Northolt has a full civilian ban in place between 1215- 1300z and an arrivals embargo between 1710-1810z on the 19th. The airport itself will operate 1100-1800z

Other UK Airports

The operational stop during the 2 minutes silence can be expected at airports across the UK.

Other bits of the World

The UK Monarch is Head of State for 14 Commonwealth countries, and has ties with another 44 or so. So a fair few countries may turn Sep 19 into a Public Holiday.

  • Bermuda Sep 19th
  • New Zealand One off Memorial Day Sep 26th
  • Australia Public Holiday Sep 22nd
  • Canada Sep 19th
  • British overseas territories Sep 19th

Notams

Notams will be published confirming the planned restrictions. However, the situation may change short notice due a change in wind direction.

If a departure cancellation is required, it is likely the arrival will be as well (and vice versa, although that’s rather obvious). They won’t be accepting rescheduling of flights until they have a better idea of capacity levels, how quickly it will return to normal, and how many stands they have available.

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Rebecca Lougheed

Rebecca Lougheed

I am an OPSGROUP team member, an A340/A380 pilot, and interested in all things flight ops, cats and beer related. Based near an undisclosed airfield in England. Question for us? Write to blog.team@ops.group.

2 Comments

  • Dermot Bell says:

    Shouldn’t be filing LHR as alternate as per AIP
    Diversion Procedure – Airline and other operators are requested to resist filing London Heathrow as an alternate. However, where this is unavoidable, they are required to have made arrangements for ground handling with an airline from the appropriate terminal.

  • Jean Luc Dufois says:

    Wow. With all due respect to the diseased queen, this is ridiculous.

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