SOUTHEND Airport is operating well below its quota for night flights - contrary to some fears among Leigh residents.

A report containing the airport’s aircraft traffic movements (ATMs) between March 1, 2017 and February 28, 2018, found 515 flights left or landed between 11.30pm and 6.30am.

The allocated quota, for a full year, currently stands at 1,440 flights.

Glyn Jones, chief executive of Stobart Aviation, which runs the airport, said: “We have always fully complied with the agreements made between us and our planning authorities that were put in place when the airport was granted planning permission to redevelop.

“This includes our obligations regarding night flights.

“There has been some recent debate around this subject, so it is important to clarify there is no night “curfew”.

“Instead, there is a ban on scheduling flights after 11.30pm and a permitted night quota of 120 movements per month during the night period.

“The airport has never scheduled services after 11.30pm and has always operated well within the overall night quota.”

The report from the Southend Airport Monitoring Working Party stated it in fact currently under half of its quota of 53,300 ATMs.

Despite the low figures for night flights at Southend Airport, Jon Fuller, from South East Essex Friends of the Earth still feels the number of night flights is still too much.

He said: “Southend Airport is absolutely the worst for having houses around it.

“I have had a lot of complaining to me from residents about the number of flights at night.

“Often there are planes coming to land in the middle of the night.

“It could be about 1am they land and the planes will wake everybody up at that time.

“The amount of noise that is coming from these flights is affecting residents and it must be stopped for the community.”

Over a 12 month period, only 17 per cent of flights took off towards or landed in the direction of homes near the airport.

Every case was deemed to be acceptable according to Southend Airport’s agreement for safety.