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Royal Wedding: Heathrow To Stop Planes Flying Over Windsor For 15 Minutes

HuffPost UK logo HuffPost UK 19/05/2018 George Bowden
a large stone building with a tower in the background © Robert Alexander via Getty Images

For Windsor residents, the din of planes flying overhead on the approach to nearby Heathrow Airport is something they’ve grown used to.

But as the Berkshire town plays host to Saturday’s Royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the couple, guests and spectators will enjoy a period of quiet - albeit a short one.

Officials at the west London hub have agreed a 15-minute respite from planes flying overhead, HuffPost has learned.

As part of the plan, national air traffic controllers will clear the airspace above Windsor and its ancient castle for a quarter of an hour.

The “no-fly” period will begin just as Markle approaches the castle and is timed to coincide with the “big reveal” of her wedding dress and her ascent up the flights of stairs into St George’s Chapel.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry - provided by Shutterstock © Shutterstock Meghan Markle and Prince Harry - provided by Shutterstock

But the closure of the airspace will not extend into the service, which is expected to last an hour. Nor will it be in place later in the day during various receptions and the couple’s carriage ride.

The confirmation is contrary to previous reports which said a blanket ban on passenger flights would be in place above Windsor.

It is hoped there will be minimum disruption for travellers arriving at and departing from Heathrow.

The “no-fly” period will run alongside further restrictions governing the minimum height aircraft near Windsor can maintain, around 2,500 feet.

Planes have already caused disruption to the world’s media gathered in Windsor, with some presenters struggling to speak over descending aircraft.

Flight paths are determined by wind direction and speed, and Heathrow’s approach and departure routes change once a day at 3pm.

© AFP

Windsor is 7 miles west of Heathrow.

A spokesperson for National Air Traffic Services (NATS), which runs UK airspace, said: “Heathrow Airport has agreed to provide a 15 minute no-fly period over Windsor at 11.45[am] on the day of the Royal Wedding on 19 May. NATS is working with Heathrow to ensure this doesn’t cause any operational disruption or delays to passengers.”

A Heathrow source said the length of the “no-fly” period is an estimate and will be similar to that experienced as a result of a runway inspection.

Related: The most iconic royal wedding dresses (Provided by Harper’s Bazaar UK)

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