EDINBURGH AIRPORT has put plans to change flight paths on hold due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the aviation industry.

'Edinburgh Airport Airspace Change Programme' has been met with widespread opposition in West Fife in recent years but with uncertainty regarding the recovery period for air travel, any possible changes are on the back burner.

In January, the airport submitted new proposals after previous plans were thrown out by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in October 2018.

The governing body deemed that the differences between the consultation and the final proposals were “too significant”.

West Fife residents and politicians had raised their concerns during the process as it was feared that what was on the table would result in an increase in the number of planes passing over the area, bringing more noise and pollution.

Fears were also expressed that one of the proposed new routes would mean that North Queensferry would have flights going over it 365 days a year.

The airport had said previously that the changes were needed to meet technical requirements and improve airspace efficiency and capacity.

The current Airspace Change Programme (ACP) proposal was only at stage one of a six-stage process if it was to get the approval of the CAA.

Neale Hanvey MP said: “Coronavirus has impacted all parts of our economy, and airports are no different, so it’s not surprising that Edinburgh Airport has taken the decision to halt plans to introduce new flight paths.

“I know this is a decision that will be welcomed by many in my constituency and, throughout, I have worked hard to make their views heard.

“Of course, aviation is vitally important to our local economy and we all benefit from improved connectivity.

“Moving forward, I will continue to advocate for my constituents and ensure that there is proper consultation around any proposed changes to flight paths.”

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: "One of the central aspects of the ACP process is public engagement, something that wouldn't have been possible in current circumstances.

"We have also had to place members of staff on furlough so we took the decision to pause the process and informed interested communities and individuals.

“We will be speaking to our regulator, the CAA, about when it would be appropriate to restart the process and we will communicate this to those local communities and groups."